Monday, August 14, 2006

Lebanon's 'real' soldiers are put in their place

Times Online reported Today was supposed to be the day when the muchmaligned army of Lebanon took control of its borders and policed the UN ceasefire. Instead, its military commanders were left humiliated and its troops stranded as Hezbollah told them not to try to disarm its fighters.

Lebanon is now faced with a decision. Does it want to govern its country, or does it want to ceed that power to Hezbollah. If they allow Hezbollah to remain armed, then the next time Iran or Syria tell them to, Hezbollah will again attack Israel, and if Lebanon thinks that Israel was harsh to it this time, just wait to see what they will do the next time Lebanon allows Hezbollah to attack Israel.
The first infantry units were preparing to head south yesterday when Hezbollah demonstrated who exercised the real control by announcing that it had no intention of surrendering a single weapon. General Michel Sleiman, the commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Army, and his lieutenants had been invited to join in Cabinet meetings to finalise plans to deploy their 15,000-strong force in a buffer zone south of the Litani river. However, they ended up being lectured by Hezbollah’s two Cabinet ministers in the coalition Government on what the army could and could not do. In Beirut, Western diplomats said that it raised serious concerns about the army’s ability and appetite to deal with Hezbollah. The Lebanese Government was left struggling to maintain a united front after unanimously backing the UN resolution on Saturday.

Sami Haddad, the Economics Minister, said: “The Government can’t force Hezbollah to abide by the ceasefire. It’s unnatural to have an armed political party that is in Cabinet and does not abide by what the Government of Lebanon wants.”
It will be interesting to see what the Democrats think about that. If they suggest that Israel accept Hezbollah remaining armed, ask how the would like it if the Republican Party wanted to have its own armed militia to enforce Republician Foreign Policies (including declaring war on another country) if they disagreed with a Democrat President (assuming we are ever unfortunate enough to have one of them).
CQ blogged The humiliation traveled from the generals to the troops, as everyone understood exactly why their orders to move out got countermanded. Government officials finally gave voice to the conundrum that all of us knew existed during this entire conflict, complaining that the Hezbollah "political party" would not abide by government decisions. Soldiers who have seen 20 of their comrades killed in a war they have neither waged nor wanted had to go back to their barracks after initially receiving the orders that would have given their country back to them.

This national humiliation will not soon be forgotten by the Lebanese. If Hezbollah gained some sympathy and support during the Israeli invasion that they themselves provoked, it has dissipated in this mutinous reaction. The scales have fallen from the eyes of the political class in Beirut, and they see the danger to their existence standing baldly in front of them. Hezbollah has stripped them of their legitimacy, and now their theft of southern Lebanon has become crystal clear.

Will this move the Siniora government to quit blamimg everyone but the terrorists that started the war? As late as Saturday, the PM still talked about the brave "national resistance", but those moments appear to have ended. If Fuad Siniora expects to lead his nation, he now has to acknowledge that Hezbollah cannot exist as a state within a state.

Sundries Shack blogged I don’t have much comment on this story except to say that is shouldn’t surprise anyone that Hezbollah has more power in Lebanon than the simpering Siniora government. That and the willingness to put a sawbuck down against anyone who thinks that Hezbollah will abide by the cease-fire agreement for more than a week. Heck, I figure the “under” right now is about 72 hours.

Decision 08 blogged Yes, and shortly thereafter, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus will arrive to keep the peace…

Michael Van Der Galien blogged Now I see: Hizbullah will not disarm, will probably attack Israel again in the near future, Israel will - of course - respond, yet one little problem: 30 000 soldiers: 15 000 Lebanese and 15 000 UN forces are standing in the way.
This, or Siniora's government will fall / will be paralyzed thus force Israel to act due to Hizbullah's reluctance to keep up appearances before 30 000 soldiers have arrived in the area -- thus Olmert can do what he should have done in the first place: send in thousands of ground forces.

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