Lebanon about to explode all over again

There’s been a flurry of activity in the news regarding Lebanon that spells out imminent doom to me, though because the points are a bit defused the connections don’t seem as obvious as they become when you pile all the separate news pieces together..

Terror rising / Father Terror

Iran focus had yesterday’s London Times news regarding Imad Mugniyeh, he’s been on the FBI most wanted terrorist list from well before the days of Osama. He’s terror marshal number 1, responsible for helping found and building up the Hezbollah terror arms, alleged to have had a part to play in the Marine bombings blast which slaughtered 280+ Marines, the US embassy Lebanon blast (65 killed), multiple attacks against Israeli targets, airline targets, wanted in the EU for terrorism charges, it never ends with Imad.

Many credit him with inventing the crime against humanity today known as suicide bombing. It was Imad who got on the bandwagon of having martyrs slam bomb laden trucks into targets.. The reason he was in the news?

Iran is looking to him to takeover anti western terrorism on Iran’s behalf.

IRAN’S president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, attended a meeting in Syria earlier this year with one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, according to intelligence experts and a former national security official in Washington.

US officials and Israel intelligence sources believe Imad Mugniyeh, the Lebanese commander of Hezbollah’s overseas operations, has taken charge of plotting Iran’s retaliation against western targets should President George W Bush order a strike on Iranian nuclear sites. [...]

That goes hand in hand with this from Iran focus reporting on the WSJ:

U.S. targets Hezbollah funds
Jay Solomon WSJ

The Bush administration is intensifying efforts to cut off funding to Hezbollah, the Shiite organization the U.S. believes is Iran’s principal vehicle for conducting terrorist attacks globally.

The moves come as counterterrorism officials grow concerned that if the standoff between Washington and Tehran over Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program heightens tension between the two sides, that could fuel terrorist strikes against Western targets in Iraq and Afghanistan and other nations where American forces are active.

Many U.S. intelligence officials say they believe Hezbollah could pose a more serious threat than the al Qaeda terrorist network, because of its structured military command and decades of experience.

Hezbollah, which means "Party of God," is a militia and sociopolitical party based in Lebanon with a global following and infrastructure that could allow it to conduct operations in Europe, Latin America and even the U.S., counterterrorism experts say. They note that Tehran has used Hezbollah as a proxy in its conflict with the U.S., as evidenced by the group’s attacks against American and Israeli targets in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Argentina over the past three decades.

Washington’s focus on Hezbollah "is at a pretty high level now," says Kevin Brock, the deputy director of the U.S. government’s National Counterterrorism Center. "There are active investigations" going on against the Islamist organization’s global activities, he said.

U.S. counterterrorism officials emphasize that they never ignored Hezbollah’s threat but that a priority was placed on al Qaeda after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Hezbollah runs southern Lebanon like an Islamic fiefdom 

When you’re talking about Hezbollah, it means you’re talking about Lebanon because southern Lebanon is their home base, and attacking Israel is one of their daily tenets. The pressure on Syria to withdraw from Lebanon has resulted in UN calls and resolutions to disarm Hezbollah with little result..

UN urges Lebanon to disband Hezbollah, set borders
By Reuters via haaretz April 21st, 2006

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations has urged Lebanon to set its borders with Syria and disband the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah militia so it can be master of its own nation – a call Hezbollah immediately rejected yesterday.

In turn, Syria should take up Beirut’s offer of establishing diplomatic relations as well as demarcating the entire 250-kilometre boundary between the two countries, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report released late on Tuesday. [...] 

Meanwhile there was also this from Debka, on the resurgence of other armed militias in Lebanon, to combat the well armed Shiite Hezbollah. Who despite Israel’s UN approved withdrawal, Syria’s withdrawal and the supposed takeover of Lebanon by.. Lebanon, have still not been confronted by the Lebanese army. The result according to Debka is a return to Syrian hegemony, and sectarian violence.

Same old scapegoat

It is all tied together, and how is Lebanon dealing with these realities brewing like a category 5 on its shores? How else, total denial and blaming Israel.

A Dangerous Dance: Lebanon’s P.M. rips Israel and criticizes Syria.
By Lally Weymouth Newsweek International

May 1, 2006 issue – Lebanon’s new prime minister, Fuad Siniora, visited President Bush last week to appeal for support. Lebanon is struggling to emerge as a democratic country-free from Syria’s grip. Yet Damascus still wields vast influence over the affairs of its weaker neighbor, in part through a potent network of intelligence agents. NEWSWEEK’s Lally Weymouth spoke with Siniora in New York last week. Excerpts: [...]

Q: WEYMOUTH: What did you request from President Bush?
SINIORA: I came to ask President Bush three specific things. One is to empower the Lebanese government politically. The most important point is to help Lebanon achieve the full integrity of all its territories and [to achieve] the withdrawal of Israel from the remaining parts of Lebanon which are still occupied, the Sheba Farms.

Q: According to the U.N. secretary-general and the Security Council, Israel fully withdrew from Lebanon in 2000; Sheba Farms was [considered] Israeli-occupied Syrian land.
Sheba Farms is Lebanese. The Syrians say verbally that it is Lebanese. [But] they don’t provide the necessary documentation to the United Nations.

Q: So your No. 1 aim is to get Israel out of Sheba Farms. What’s No. 2?
No. 2 is to [enhance] the capabilities of Lebanon’s internal security forces and its Army, by providing equipment and training. [...]

Q: Who can disarm Hizbullah as required by the U.N. resolution?
If the U.S. and friendly countries help us achieve the withdrawal of Israel from Sheba Farms, this would make it possible for the Lebanese forces to be the sole owner of weapons and arms in the country.

Q: Why would Hizbullah give up their weapons? Didn’t they threaten you and tell you not to come here?
They didn’t threaten me, though some of them said I should not come.

Q: But Hizbullah has strong ties to Iran, as the recent U.N. report points out. It says that arms came to Hizbullah via Syria during the last six months.
It [records] one incident in which 12 trucks were smuggled into Lebanon for Hizbullah from Syria.

Q: Is it Syria’s President Assad who would have to disband Hizbullah?
Assad will play an effective role in this regard. … Things in Lebanon cannot happen by mere force [but] through dialogue and achieving the objectives that were set by Hizbullah. Hizbullah has several objectives that I subscribe to: release the [Lebanese] detainees; ask the Israelis to provide us with maps of the land mines that they planted in Lebanon, and stop the aerial and sea violations of our airspace and waters.

Q: Would you talk to Israel directly about this? 
No. We do not have any diplomatic relations with Israel.

Q: Why don’t you normalize relations with Israel?
We will upon the finalization of the peace process.

Q: Didn’t Hizbullah kidnap three Israeli soldiers in 2000?
Didn’t Israel kill tens of thousands of civilians?

Q: Israel withdrew from Lebanon.
Israel must hand over the Sheba Farms. Then Hizbullah will be in position to hand over arms to the government.

Q: How strong is Syria’s influence in Lebanon today?
Syria has its men and people in the country: supporters, some politicians and quite a number of Syrian intelligence agents. They are effective. [...]

Take me to your leaders..

While it is abundantly clear the Lebanese PM’s problems all stem from Hezbollah (Iran) and Syria, he spends the bulk of his time blaming Israel and the absurd Sheba Farms area for all his troubles, typical Arab leadership which has led the Arabs absolutely nowhere now this past century.. Total denial of reality! Is it because he lives in fear for his life from the peaceful seeking Muslim Terrorists running their own southern mini state within Lebanon?

What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

My friend, when the terrorist organization nestled comfortably in your country causes sectarian violence to re-explode, when they turn the eye of the USA towards Lebanon’s finances as it now has, when someone is killed in Israel by a Hezbollah rocket or inspired martyr, or if arms and support is flowing and terrorism is the result..

You will have much more to worry about than the 2 kilometre wide Shebaa Farms.

Lebanon struggling to independence, yet seemingly unable to make a single independent decision without first consulting Iran, Syria, or Hezbollah first. I’d advise the Lebanese to seek cover now, sadly this one is going to pop, it’s only a matter of time.

The crisis is Hezbollah but the puppet answers Israel

[tags]Lebanon, Israel, US, Syria, Hezbollah, Iran, Terrorism[/tags]

Update: Some additional Lebanese perspective at The Beirut Spring

  • Cryo

    You missed the very profound but subtle point Siniora is making. Those 2 km2 area you speak of are a major stumbling block for disarming hezbollah, something all the Lebanese March 14 majority wishes to happen. Why? Because demanding disarmament without those lands makes the government look like it’s abandoning it’s own land. Syria insists they are Lebanese SPECIFICALLY for that purpose.  If Israel would withdraw from those worthless lands (as you described them) then all Lebanese can call Hezbollah’s bluff and strip them of the final fig leaf with which they are holding Lebanon hostage. The man said so, but not in such a blunt way. So come on, and I realize how weird this may sound to you, but help lebanon help you.  Just like Jerry Macguire.

  • neil

    All that cryogenic slumber has induced brain-freeze pal.  Like it or not, if there’s one thing I know about arabs, it is that if you give them a finger they will take the hand and then want the whole arm.  The Sheba farms issue is a total red herring, a non-starter, neither here nor there.  You think that the Arab world in general, and the Lebanese Arab street in particular, will be satisfied with just Sheba Farms, just the Golan, just the West Bank, just Jerusalem?  Then you, my friend, are smoking even better stuff than some of those poor stiffs in Dahab, just before they got blown to bits. Great analysis and summary of recent events in Lebanon, saus!

  • Hi Cryo, I didn’t miss the point but I frankly cannot accept it. I thought I countered it by illuminating how absurd it is to pin Lebanon’s troubles on the Shebaa farms, as if handing this to Nasrallah is going to cause Hizbullah to disarm, it’s beyond absurd.

    I understood that you maintain that after Israel gives this small strip of Syrian land to Lebanon all of a sudden Lebanon is going to forcefully disarm Hezbollah, or Hezbollah is going to lay down their weapons?

    No problem, we don’t need fig leaves, lets call the Hezbollah bluff right here right now. If we turn it around and commit Israel in writing to giving back the Sheba farms to anyone who wants them ONCE hezbollah is disarmed, is Lebanon prepared to take the action? The answer will be nay, and the fig leafs and bluffs have all been called.

    Hezbollah is an INTL recognized terrorist organization – they will be disarmed or destroyed, either by Lebanon or by others it’s really that simple. After the Hamas debacle the INTL community will NOT condone another terror group on a ballot with weapons. Is that what we want? Lebanon ostracized from the World like the Palestinians are now, because that’s whats going to happen if civil war doesn’t eat lebanon alive first.

    The interview was quite clear, no peace, no Israel, no disarmament, just another weak Arab leader with more BS, only this time even Kofi Annan isn’t biting.

    No one can help Lebanon here but the Lebanese, it’s time Arabs, or Muslims, or Maronites or whomever started taking some damn responsibility instead of insisting of being coddled like little children. The entire World is waiting, took up Lebanon’s cause, got Syria out, nailed Assad on the Hariri Murder, there was only one condition: the terrorist group hezbollah would have to go so Lebanon could become a normal country again. They don’t do it because they are unwilling, peace is apparently not the goal. Forget Peace with Israel, I’m talking about peace within Lebanon.

  • Talal

    Thank God that regional leaders are shrewder then you, and don’t come to such ridiculous conclusions. Not even worth debating, since it is full of fallacies and lies, and analysis of a second grader. The picture from the DEBKAfile dates from 1992. I hope that is enough information for you to realize that you shouldn’t believe everything that is fed to you. And even less what is fed with a spoon.

  • You really did miss the point. PM Sanioura is really over a barrel.  He’s got to deal with Hezbollah, Syria (which refuses to meet with him and threatens the lives of members of his coalition), Iran, Saudi Arabia, France, the US, and the UN.  He has to throw the right bones to the right people.

     If you’ve followed the statements made by Condi Rice, she routinely notes that the US understands the situation Lebanon is in.

      It should be striking to you that Sanioura’s declared number 2 goal is strengthening the Internal Security Forces.

      In fact, this is the only way Hezbollah will be disarmed, and that is what both Sanioura and Rice know.

     Shebaa is a non-issue that Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran use to threaten the region.  If you follow the statements of Walid Jumblatt, he declares that Shebaa is not even Lebanese (which is true).

      However, the reality is that Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria have far more influence than the US, France, the UN, and Israel.

      That means their demands must be taken seriously, even if their demands are ludicrous nonsense.

      Hezbollah is jumping back and forth over a very fine line.  If Shebaa is returned, a true peace process can begin that will be done without the direct participation of the Hezbollah leadership. 

     They don’t have enough strength in parliament to halt the beginning of a peace process, and they will lose credibility with the Lebanese people.  Note that PLO leader Abul Ainein is being received generously by the 14 March Coalition. 

    Remember that Abbas is the Israel ally on the Palestinian side, and it is his faction that the Lebanese leadership is supporting in Lebanon. Hezbollah knows that Shebaa will not be returned, which is why it is making it into such a big issue. 

     If Shebaa is returned, they lose their ground entirely.  Some small notes: Imad Mughnieh could not have invented suicide bombing since this was done much earlier by the Sri Lankans. I won’t say that the DebkaFile report is false and worthless, but it is way overblown and disproportionate to what is actually happening.


  • What’s up with the formatting?  What happened to my paragraphs?

  • Talal coming from the Arab world and raving about lies and fallacies is not such a great idea, because frankly the Arab regimes in the area lie to their people on a daily basis as a matter of policy.

    The Wall Street Journal, The London Times, Newsweek Magazine – these are the sources for the articles listed, these are all liars and fantasy makers but I take it Al Manar and Al Jazeera those are the fact centers right? Thx for making me smile so early in the morning!

  • Hi Lebop, type normally, no html so paragraphs are just return key.

    I don’t agree with you at all, the PM is over a barrel that I don’t doubt. You seemed to have missed my point, which was the Lebanese PM spent the bulk of his time ranting about Israel as usual, instead of tackling the real problems illustrated - its the same old weak scapegoat.

    It’s been more than a year since Hariri was killed, a year since Syria withdrew, SIX years since Israel withdrew. All I heard from your PM no offense intended was BS talk, in the Middle East talk is cheap, action gets results and respect.

    He’s taking the ludicrous concerns of Hezbollah Iran & Syria in your words above the concerns of France the UN US & Israel.. That’s his problem, he’s got it backwards believe me Rice’s sympathetic smile means nothing at the end of the day. 

    Seems many miss the real point which is that the US & Iran are about to go head on and already are, Hezbollah is Iran in Lebanon, if you Lebanese don’t deal with the situation soon it’s going to blow up in your face when Iran uses Hezbollah as a proxy against Western interests and they will.

    The articles are talking about the US putting the screws on Hezbollah now. Not throwing bones to local dictators.

    You don’t have 2 years to train your security forces the way I see it, and your PM is not getting Sheba farms back until you sign a peace deal with Israel, so it is irrelevant. You can sign the same peace deal tomorrow without Sheba farms if you wanted, and all last year too, and disarm hezbollah through the political process as you call it, or put Lebanese troopers on the border with Israel, but Lebanon refuses. You have the UN, US, France, Israel support in these things, hezbollah could be handled in less than 3 days if Lebanon was serious about it, did you see how fast Assad ran back to Syria faced weith the UN US France & Israel!? Who do you think took care of this? Lebanon?

    The UN calls for actions, and Lebanon leaves instead a vacuum doing what appears to be nothinbg but blaming Israel, in a vacuum you’ll have the return to chaos which was the whole point of that debka article.. if this is not evident to you we must simply disagree.

    Just like Abbas with Hamas, Lebanon’s PM won’t deliver on anything let alone disarm Hezbollah, and like I said I see the rockets and bombs are coming sadly to Lebanon again.

    thanks for your view

  • Talal

    Saus – completely disagree. Who told I’m coming from the Middle East? Does my nickname sound too Arab for you? Do you feel uneasy? Well guess what, it’s a nickname, not my name. The Debka article is a complete fallacy. After checking out the source, it is from a 2005 summer camp of Christina youth that believed in Bachir Gemayel. For those who are interested this is the link : http://www.bachirgemayel.org/modules.php?set_albumName=album17&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php&PHPSESSID

  • Talal, you spout the same old cliche typical ME junk about fallacies and lies without countering or making any points. This being my blog there’s really no mysteries where you come from.

    The debka article wasn’t quoted in my post which was very long, do you have anything to add to this discussion? Did you even read the post? How’s about the other 98%.

    The uneasy one is usually the guy who comes in to put up a few insults with little else.. But that’s just my experience.

    What do you want to see happen in Lebanon? If I’m all lies any time enlighten us with your bigger truths, you are free here to do so unlike under a hezbollah regime for instance.

    btw Summer camp, those kids look a little old too me for camp.. The photo illustrates Bashir Gemayel’s son as claimed, are you telling me that one of the fiercest maronite leaders who united all the Maronite factions by killing his competition setup a summer camp foundation for his son and his friends? Maybe, If so which side did you support in the civil war..

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