Is There A Civil War On The Way In Lebanon?

From Michael Totten, a guy who knows Lebanon:

“The Lebanese government says Syria and Iran aim to overthrow the elected government in Beirut and reconquer the country. Whether they are actually trying to do this right now or not is unknown. There should be no doubt, though, that if they don’t have a plan to execute now it’s because they want to do it later instead.

Meanwhile, a group that calls itself “Al Qaeda in Lebanon” appeared from Lord-only-knows-where and directly threatened to destroy the March 14 government. “Al Qaeda in Lebanon” may or may not exist as a wing of bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. If they do, they’re serious. If they don’t, they’re a Syrian proxy. Either way, it doesn’t look good. This is not a prank phone call.

These threats to Beirut’s elected government are concurrent with Hezbollah’s and Amal’s resignation from the Lebanese cabinet. Hezbollah and Amal quit for two reasons. The first is that the March 14 bloc refused to give Nasrallah and friends who lost last year’s election more power in a “national unity” government. The second is because it was time for the cabinet to move ahead on the Hariri tribunal. Hezbollah will not tolerate the prosecution of their patron in Damascus.

Once again, the country is bracing itself for sectarian war in the streets. Charles Malik says Christians may sit this one out for the first time in Lebanon’s history. Whatever fighting there may or may not be will likely involve Sunni and Shia.

If this isn’t gruesome enough, Syria and Iran have reportedly replenished all Hezbollah’s destroyed arsenal stocks. Hezbollah, according to the Times of London, now has more rockets than they had before the most recent Israeli invasion. If this is, in fact, true, UNIFIL ought to just go home right now. These foreign soldiers are useless except as human shields.”

From Walid Phrares,

“According to sources and contacts – as well as statements made in Lebanon over the past few weeks – all analysis indicates that Hezbollah is on the verge of an all out offensive in Lebanon to crumble the “March 14” Seniora Government and to seize strategic control in the country….

3. The perceived results of the midterm elections in the U.S. were read as positive by Tehran and its allies, in the sense that it froze vigorous reactions by the U.S. against any Iranian-Syrian move in Lebanon via Hezbollah. The feelings in Tehran and Damascus, have been that if in the next weeks and months a “thrust” takes place in Lebanon to the advantage of the pro-Syrian camp, Washington will be in no position to react or counter. Ahmedinijad and Assad believe (or have been advised to believe) that “lobbies” are moving in Washington and Brussels to restrain any strong deterrence by the U.S. against the “axis.” The theory is that the Bush Administration is too busy “negotiating” with the new leadership in Congress to “dare” a mass move in the Middle East. The analysis also predicts that strong lobbies within the Democratic Party are now positioned to block any serious response to a change in geopolitics in Lebanon. It is believed that the window of opportunity won’t be too long before the Administration and the upcoming Congress “understands” the Tehran-Damascus maneuver and create a unified response. Thus, the expectation is that Hezbollah and its allies were told to achieve their goals before the end of the year, and before the new Congress begin business on the Hill.

4. Hezbollah has mobilized its forces from all over the country to position them in the capital and eventually use them in moves in Beirut, the central and southern part of Mount Lebanon, where most government institutions are located. Nasrallah can also bring into “battle” the supporters of General Michel Aoun, the Syrian National-Socialists, the Baathists, and the pro-Syrian Sunni militias, the Islamic Fundamentalists paid by Syria, the Palestinian radicals and the security agencies still under the influence of Syria. This “huge” army can – technically – defeat the thin internal security forces of the government. The Lebanese Army is an unknown factor, with Hezbollah supporters in control of the military regions in the south, the Bekaa, southern suburbs and other positions. In short, the “axis army” is ready to engage in battle in Lebanon. The issue is when, how, and with what outcome.

5. The projected scenario is as follows: Hezbollah and Amal movement ministers will resign from the Government calling for the resignation of the Government. The next move is to have Hezbollah, Amal, and their allies in the Parliament also resign, thus creating “conditions” for what they will coin as new elections and a collapse of the cabinet. Most of these moves have already been accomplished or are on the eve of being implemented. The pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud will declare the Government and the Parliament as “illegitimate,” and call for early legislative elections. The latter, if they take place will be under the smashing influence of Hezbollah’s weapons (a show of force was performed in the summer) and of the cohorts of militias and security agencies. Result: a pro-Syrian-Iranian majority in parliament, followed by the formation of an “axis” government in Lebanon. The rest is easy to predict: A terrorism victory.”

Everyone knows that the UN and the nations in Western Europe (aside from Britain) are run by hopeless, impotent weaklings. That means that bad actors around the world really only have to fear the United States. Unfortunately, the terrorists have correctly pegged the Democrats as the same sort of hopeless, impotent weaklings that run Western Europe and the UN and they’ve concluded that their election means that the American people have lost the will to fight. That’s not true, but it has surely emboldened the terrorists and it will make our job in Iraq and elsewhere a lot more difficult until we kill a lot of people somewhere and prove to them that we’re still to be feared.

So, if you’re Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah and you want to throw a coup in Lebanon, now may seem like an opportune time because you think Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, Harry Reid and Company will keep Bush from killing you. We’ll see how it plays out, but it would be an enormous mistake for Bush or for that matter, the Israelis, to allow Hezbollah to take over in Lebanon — if it comes to war. No matter how many people have to die in Southern Lebanon or Iran, that bodycount would be worth it to stop the whole country from turning into another terrorist state like pre-9/11 Afghanistan.

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