Monday, September 04, 2006

The Lebanese Labrynth

From Beirut to the Beltway is discussing the political infighting between Syria and the Lebanese March 14th Movement (anti-Syrian) sometimes also called the Cedar Revolution.

There have been numerous times when the Lebanese blogosphere (or at least this blog) cried foul, realizing what was happening—a gradual emasculation and neutralization of March 14, and empowerment of Hizbullah, which climaxed on May 10, when Hizbullah and Aoun translated their “understanding” (euphemism for alliance) into street action. Affter months of threatening and bashing March 14 for taking to the streets and for democratically using people power (which to Aoun in pre-May 10 speeches was shameless, useless and meaningless), they staged a massive demonstration of a few hundreds of thousands to protest against the economic policy of the government-- an old Syrian intelligence trick used to bully Rafik Hariri whenever he disobeyed the master.

All that of course, in part, resulted from the failure of the March 14 leaders, and their shortsightedness. Had they not let the National Dialogue charade preempt the parliament, had they not felt intimidated by the “consensus” talk even when Hizbullah practiced no such thing, we would not be here today.

Needless to say, Hizbullah’s operation taught March 14 a painful lesson, and cost the country a lot. While this may be ground enough for their deposal, unfortunately for Lebanon, if they go, Assad and his friends will move in. (The tragic thing, it is not clear whether Hizbullah would continue to tolerate Aoun should that happen, but let’s hope this doesn’t happen.) For that has been the intention all along. And now that UNSC 1701 has given the Siniora government the upper hand, the need to topple it became a matter of life or death not only to March 14's opponents, but Assad.

Assad and co at first thought they could propagate the myth that Hizbullah won, in hopes that “victory” could turn the tables in Lebanon, and create a justification for a coup d’etat, disguised under “national unity government”. As one of my readers pointed out (Fubar), whoever controls the government, controls UNIFIL, but most importantly, controls the Lebanese army’s mission. And let us not forget the Hariri investigation, which this war could not kill (as I feared it would), and that is now approaching an important stage.
Syria of course is not about to let Lebanon go its own way if it can do anything about it. So the power struggle is on with factions changing sides at the drop of a bribe or the promise of a political plum.

Update: 10 Sept '06 0509z
The Captain
doesn't like Lebanese prospects.

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