Thursday, March 17, 2005

Will the Cedar Revolution Fail?

Raja asks, "Two days after a protest that would have brought down the most formidable government, there are still no positive developments worth mentioning! Why?"

Solomon2 answers: Perhaps it works because the opposition isn't really organized yet. It could call a million people for a demonstration, but not a collection of representative speakers to issue demands of the form, "Do this, and if you don't, WE will issue the orders to government officials, and if THEY don't obey, well, we're a million strong, aren't we?"

Yes, it raises the spectre of civil war - the Lebanese Army vs. Hezbollah. But it should scare the hell out of the the Asad regime, and may knock sense into everyone else.

We forget that the Beirut Spring is only a month old. The faster pro-democracy forces organize, the faster the existing government must react.

It won't be easy. The Soviet Union trained its secret agents to act as provacateurs, taking up extreme positions that make "unity" impossible. Those folks will have to be shaken out. No, the opposition won't stay united -- but real democracies never do, not on everything...

In my judgment, the Lebanese can't just sit at home and just expect things to happen. Demonstrating ALONE is not enough.

Esther: As to why they're stalling -- it's for their very existance. If they ever leave, it's going to be kicking and screaming. Because once Syria is kicked out of Lebanon, Iran and Syria will lose their foothold to easy attacks on Israel as well as their quick pipeline to getting the PA arms to fight Israel and they're not going to like that. Not only that, if Lebanon gets to taste freedom, you can bet Assad will be wondering how long before his fellow countrymen toss him out on his butt? And if that happens, Iran is going to completely freak out. Hizbullah is the wild card in that could cause a helluva lot of problems. Their loyalty is to Iran...and that's bad news.

Solomon2: If Hizbollah places its loyalty to Iran above that of loyalty to Lebanon, that may confound the Lebanese into inaction, for have they not built up the image of Hizbollah as "patriotic" organization that expelled the Israeli's from "occupied" Lebanon?

It seems to me that any confrontation with Hizbollah risks breaking the unwritten compact of silence and myth that has existed since Israel's departure from Southern Lebanon. If Hizbollah insists on its current course, there is no way I can see that the Lebanese will achieve freedom without confronting it, at least partially, unless the Lebanese make a total break is made with Hizbollah -- unlikely, but possible.

Hizbollah must realize this; that's why they throw wild accusations of "Jew" or "Zionist" at their very Lebanese political opponents. So the least shameful alternative is either to break with Hizbollah (how strong is the Lebanese Army?) or do nothing and let the Beirut Spring wither and die. I do not know how Lebanon will choose.

Raja: Hizballah is being confronted as we speak. However, the military option is not viable. It will lead to civil war because the entire Shia population will rally behind Hizballah's banner.

Somethings gonna have to give. I just hate waiting so damn long!

Solomon2: Thank you, Raja. I understand a little better now the repetitive efforts to get Hizballah to cooperate with the opposition.

Maybe Husseini has the right idea, "The resistance doesn't belong to a certain person or party." So why shouldn't Hizballah not "disarm" but yield their weapons to the Lebanese government?

But if the Shia support of Hizballah is so strong, why should Nasrallah yield an inch to such demands? Only if Nasrallah really cares about the people of Lebanon. And if he doesn't, what then?

Like you said. We gotta chew our fingernails and wait.

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