THE FATE OF LEBANON & THE REST OF US
By Alan Caruba
That is the sad truth about Lebanon. What it has been unable or unwilling to do for itself, will be done by Israel when it shatters the strongholds of Hezbollah to end the rain of Iranian-made rockets on its cities. This time, Israel will withdraw to its borders, leaving Lebanon yet another opportunity to assert its sovereignty.
Ambassador Gillerman recalled a sunnier time in Lebanon’s recent history, prior to 1975, “when the Lebanese began their long descent into oppression and terror. This is a country that has been held hostage for more than 32 years by tyrants from the north and terrorists from the south.”
Carved out of the defeated Ottoman Empire after World War I by the French and English, Lebanon became a unique place where its large Christian population achieved a successful measure of governance in cooperation with Muslim citizens. The result was a place that was often called the Paris of the Middle East, a place that became a modern financial hub to the region.
With the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Lebanon became a French protectorate, while Iraq and Jordan fell under the influence of the British, who also oversaw affairs in the desolate area to the south called Palestine. Following World War II, Jewish refugees from the Nazi Holocaust and earlier Jewish settlers would establish the State of Israel in 1948.
The Lebanese “Cedar Revolution” that began on March 14, 2005, when more than a million Lebanese poured into the streets of Beirut to protest the February assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, was brief. Anger, frustration, and desperation had overcome the fear of Syrian repression.
On April 26, 2005, the last of the Syrian army departed, but Hezbollah, a militant Islamic organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel, ruled southern Lebanon.
The Syrians had moved into Lebanon ostensibly to bring an end to a 15-year civil war (1975-1990) that had been triggered by an influx of heavily armed Palestinian refugees, driven from Jordan after their failed effort to overthrow the Hashemite monarchy.
Reduced to its simplest terms, it was a war between Christians and Muslims. It was, however, more complex because, in Lebanon, everyone is defined by their religion, and this includes whether one is Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Shia, Sunni, Druze, or Maronite. The differences are exaggerated in the hothouse atmosphere of Islamic fantasies.
Israel, in effect, accepted Syrian control of Lebanon, in exchange for Syria's exercise of control over Hezbollah. Yes, some rockets might hit northern Israel from time to time, but that was a small price to pay. Too many rockets put an end to that compromise. In time, Israel moved troops into the southern part of Lebanon to create a security zone. In 2000, Israel withdrew, having suffered too many casualties among its forces from a low-intensity warfare against them.
Israelis, weary from the endless attacks on their people, tried to secure peace by ceding land to the Palestinians in Gaza and promising to withdraw further from the West Bank. The Lebanese border to the north remained closely guarded against Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that had invented the suicide bomber and perfected the taking of hostages.
Ambassador Gillerman called the Cedar Revolution Lebanon’s moment of truth. Would it take the opportunity to assert its sovereignty over southern Lebanon? It did not. In fact, in the elections that followed Syria’s withdrawal, Hezbollah candidates became a part of Lebanon’s reconstituted government.
Lebanon remained hostage to a stateless organization that answered to both Syria and Iran.
Syria’s desire to reclaim Lebanon and Iran’s desire to destroy Israel forced Hezbollah to demonstrate that the millions poured into it had been a good investment. In attacks coordinated with Hamas, both terror groups kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Suddenly, the heat was off Iran, as concerns about its ambition to acquire nuclear weapons gave way to the attention focused on events in Lebanon and Gaza.
There was never any doubt of Israel’s response. Ambassador Gillerman told the UN Security Council:
If you want to see what the other nations of the Middle East will look like, if there is no intervention and preemption, look at Lebanon.
If you want to see what Europe will look like, if subjected to a similar campaign of terror, look at Lebanon.
The implications for the United States of America are huge. This is where we secure a large measure of the oil our economy and way of life requires. This is where we have put our troops in harm’s way to break the grip of fanatical Islam and replace it with a modern form of governance.
Failure is not an option, but, so far, U.S. diplomacy has only encouraged its enemies.
This is not just about tiny Israel fighting for its security and survival. This is not about restoring Lebanon to its former grandeur.
This is about whether Western Civilization has the guts to protect itself against a barbaric and tyrannical enemy.
The Middle East -- Lebanon as a Geopolitical Problem
The Israeli-Arab Conflict
The Middle East & the Problem of Syria
The Middle East -- Arabs, Arab States,
& Their Middle Eastern Neighbors
The Middle East & the Problem of Iran
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
Page Three Page Two Page One
War & Peace in the Real World
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, a Public Relations Counselor, and Founder of the National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about media-driven scare campaigns. Caruba writes a weekly commentary, "Warning Signs," posted on the Internet website of the National Anxiety Center, which is located at www.anxietycenter.com.
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