Lebanon's Enemy Within

[Commentary] Michael J. Totten - Peace talks with Damascus won't get Israelis anywhere. Syria's tyrant Bashar Assad needs a state of cold war with Israel to justify the oppressive policies against his country's own citizens, and bad-faith negotiations yield him some measure of international legitimacy he doesn't deserve. Hizbullah is "moderate" compared with the worst jihadist groups out there, but it simply cannot survive in its current form if it isn't engaged in at least a low level of conflict. Hizbullah doesn't even pretend to want peace and will almost certainly gin up another shooting war on the border. "See?" Hizbullah will say to fellow Lebanese after violently provoking the Israelis to cross the border again. "We told you. You need us." Lebanon probably really is the least anti-Israel Arab country in the world. It is certainly the most liberal, democratic, and cosmopolitan of the Arabic countries - at least the non-Hizbullah parts of Lebanon are. Most Lebanese were furious at Hizbullah for starting the last war in July 2006. Some even supported Israel's initial counterattack. A huge number of Lebanese Christians were Israel's allies during the [1975-1990] civil war, and even a large number of Shias from South Lebanon volunteered to fight Hizbullah and joined the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army until the year 2000. Most of Hizbullah's supporters are drawn from the ranks of those who sincerely believe Israel is a threat to them and that Hizbullah is their only defense. This is nonsense on stilts - Israel wouldn't have invaded Lebanon at all in 2006 if Hizbullah had not attacked first.

2008-10-30 01:00:00

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