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Commentary

The Weak Link is the Lebanese Government

Manuela Paraipan, Bucharest, Romania, August 18, 2006

The Fuad Siniora government will lose all its credibility if it does not act decisively against Hezbollah holding weapons and openly disobeying the Lebanese internal laws.

Lebanon pays for its duplicity and complicity regarding Hezbollah's presence and activities since 1982. Hezbollah was welcomed among all the Lebanese as its Savior. Soon enough its agenda and sponsors have been uncovered, but for some reason the Lebanese government decided to keep the Iranian-Syrian proxy close.

Hezbollah's ideology is cohesive, clear beyond any doubt. It is a mixture of socialism, philanthropy and religious dogma. All put in the work of acquiring power, influence and authority in politics. Hezbollah managed to play its cards well enough to have seats in Parliament and affiliated Ministers in Fuad Siniora's cabinet.
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There are approximately 1 million Shiias in Lebanon. Hezbollah raised their profile, and replaced the state in South Lebanon, Baalbeck and the Beqaa Valley. The state's failure to develop the largely Shiias areas meant Hebzollah's success.

If the Shiias sided with Hezbollah, the Sunnis followed the steps of Rafiq Hariri parading their business skills, proudly showing that they are open minded, democracy sympathizers, with ties worldwide. The Druze have partially joined the Sunnis' trend, and those who did not were too occupied with the community, internal clannish-type fights.

The Christian community went into fragmentation with a pro-Syrian President, and the leader of Free Patriotic movement, General Michel Aoun, getting closer to Hezbollah, while the Christian leaders struggled to hold on to their political prerogatives.

Nadim Freiha, a close Aoun aide said that, "General Aoun is trying to avoid the Hezbollah problem as General de Gaulle did with the French communists after the Liberation, in 1945. The communists remitted their arms, avoiding a civil war, and the French did not enter a military alliance with the U.S.A. against Russia."

He further added, "General Aoun prefers to fight the Syrians in Lebanon by various ways:
gather around him all previous pro-Syrians to avoid their return with Damascus if everybody rejects them; define with Hezbollah the conditions to disarm the resistance; and work with the young Hariri to built up a new state."

The Lebanese society's struggle reflects the unstable status quo of all the Arab countries. The division along religious and family lines makes it very difficult for any leader to hold the society united, or at least to give that impression.

There are three features that the Lebanese society and political leadership lack, and that is unity, responsibility and vision. The political leaders are, without exception, putting the interests of their sect or even their own ambitions before the well being of the whole society. It is how each sect has managed to individually survive, but they have yet to discover a manner that would allow them to stand together. No doubt, where there is a will, there is also a way.

The Lebanese Army was supposed to deploy on the border years ago to keep Hezbollah from engaging in terrorist acts, but they kept on refusing to do so. The Lebanese army may be a weak one, but it is its job to protect the borders. If the government had asked for France or the United States support to train, and equip the military, the Hezbollah private militia would have had no other choice than to disarm or relocate to Iran or Syria.

Hezbollah does not fight for Lebanon. It never did. They used Lebanon as a mean to an end. And that end is their fight for Islam. It is equally true that by doing so they serve the immediate interests of the Iranian Ayatollah Khamenei, and that of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The Lebanese government has chosen not to confront the terrorist group Hezbollah because of a fear of civil war. The inclusion of Hezbollah in the political process raised some hope of moderating Hezbollah's rhetoric and goals. That was a fatal mistake because Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah believes that he is fulfilling the divine commands of Allah and in his fanaticism Lebanon's sufferance is but a small price to be paid for the greater Islamic Ummah.

Hezbollah betrayed Lebanon and further destabilized the region when it unilaterally decided to launch war against Israel. It is a terrorist group that has taken advantage of each and every aspect of a quasi-democratic, open society while doing everything it can to undermine its sovereignty.

The Fuad Siniora government will lose all its credibility if it does not act decisively against Hezbollah holding weapons and openly disobeying the Lebanese internal laws, and the U.N. 1559 and 1680 resolutions. The fact that errors have been made in the past do not justify the government's 'looking the other way' policy. The Latin proverb describes this situation well, "errare humanum est, perseverare autem diabolicum." Translated it means, "to commit errors is human, but to persevere [in the error] is diabolical."

We have to underline again and as often as needed that Hezbollah, as Hamas, are committed to the destruction of the State of Israel and to that end, they see no moral problem in their tactics.

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