Sometimes I wonder what would happen if Siniora broke from Hezbollah completely and appealed to the U.N. to start disarming Hezbollah by force? Everyone here tells me it can't be done - Hezb is too thoroughly integrated into the Shia population. I suppose it would mean war.
Yet wouldn't such a war be preferable to the nightmare that seems sure to follow if Siniora doesn't make such an appeal? I think Nasrallah is counting on the fact that Lebanese would rather sit back and let their democracy wither than stand up and risk conflict. All of Lebanon appears to be his hostage, more today than during the Israel-Hezbollah war because there is no such conflict to divert Hezbollah's energies from domestic matters.
The danger for the West is that Lebanon is becoming a perfect model for turning a democracy into a religious dictatorship - nearly the opposite of what the U.S. is trying to to in Iraq. The steps are simple enough:
1) Infiltrate or organize the Muslim population;
2) Concentrate your followers geographically so they can control the local government;
3) Arm your followers to take control of local families throught terror and local governement through the ballot box;
4) Seek state power under the pretext of avoiding a confrontation with the outside community;
5) Start a conflict with a designated "enemy", trumpeting armed followers as "patriots".
6) Label the outside, mostly unarmed community "traitors" and use inside knowledge of government and armed followers to overthrow the government.
There seems to be no reason why the "Lebanon Model" couldn't work in any country where the citizenry possesses the values demonstrated by the majority of Lebanese citizens: valuing peace, prosperity, "group rights" and order over the rule of law and personal freedom.
UPDATE: Michael Totten has a plan:
I am suggesting a changing of targets. Lightly hitting Syria instead of massively hitting Lebanon is a plea to tone down the belligerence and channel what remains in a more productive direction.
I replied something like this (a glitch wiped out my original comment):
If Israel hits Syria, do you think the international community would show Israel sympathy and understanding?Or would efforts to arm the Gazans redouble and calls for jihad increase? I see Jordan recalling its ambassador and closing borders. I see Egypt renouncing the Camp David accords and vowing belligerence with Israel (without, of course, giving back the territory Camp David yielded to Egypt). I see Syria reveling in its role of "victim" and Asad collecting Saudi cash for arms and terrorism. I see Iraqis goaded into attacking U.S. troops, lest their families be attacked by death squads and militias.
And while the U.S. is busy trying to dampen fires in the MidEast, Hezbollah will be bolder than ever in its campaign to subvert Lebanon's democracy, because it knows no one will be looking, and if they are Hezbollah can use Israel's "aggression" to justify its own dastardly deeds.
MJT, please do not persist believing in the fantasy that that "Israel bombing Syria" is the action that will start Lebanon down the road to solving its problems.
UPDATE: Abu Kais accuses Hezbollah of treason. Oh, really?