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Suicide

The battle is quietly being lost for the commanding heights overlooking Mt. Lebanon. The affiliation of the masked gunmen taking up residence in various strategic locations throughout the mountain range is not hard to imagine. Hezbollah’s encroachments into non-Shia areas is an alarming new development in a Lebanese situation that becomes more alarming by the day. The last we checked, there weren’t many Israeli outposts in the Metn, Jbeil or the Kesrouan, let alone in the Barouq, Niha and Aley.
 
Hezbollah has been placing a premium on being able to deploy its forces outside predominantly Shia areas of Lebanon. Last September, NOW Lebanon reported on the party’s land purchases and construction projects in Jbeil and Jezzine, and in March on its establishment of an effective “security perimeter” in the Abu Samra neighborhood of Tripoli. Much like its private communications network, Hezbollah’s military network has expanded throughout Lebanon in recent years.
 
The logic is clear: These are preparations for war, or rather preparations to ensure that if there is a war, Hezbollah’s adversaries won’t be able to fight one. The party knows better than to enter Christian, Druze or Sunni areas. So it has opted for control of the high ground – high ground overlooking the territories of its foes but also controlling lines of communication between mainly Shia areas in the northern Bekaa Valley, the southern Bekaa, South Lebanon, and Beirut’s southern suburbs. 
 
In that context we can better understand what happened in western Beirut last May. The military operation was a warning, namely that anyone who dared challenge Hezbollah would face armed attack. The strategy only partly worked, however. Hezbollah’s efforts to take over Hill 888 in Aley, which controls access to the entire area overlooking Beirut’s southern suburbs, and its efforts to take the Niha and Barouq high ground, which would have placed Walid Jumblatt and Mukhtara under its guns, failed. In Choueifat, as in the Chouf and Aley, the Druze united against Hezbollah. But that hardly means the party will not try again. If anything, Hezbollah is now familiar with how the Druze might react in the future.    
 
Hezbollah knows that the Shia are geographically vulnerable, but its actions are only ensuring that the community will be viewed as a menace by most other Lebanese. No one doubts that Hezbollah has the weapons and training to fight a hard fight, even win in many places. But what is taking place today has so transgressed the red lines of all communities that what we will almost certainly see in the near future is a dangerous logic of communal self-defense taking over. Just as the Druze united against Hezbollah, so too will the Christians and Sunnis. For the party’s strategy to be effective in the long term, it needs to have the capacity to occupy territory and hold it, not just control access routes.
 
But does it have such a capacity? Plainly no. If an all-out war breaks out, God forbid, Hezbollah will be on its own. Israel would be delighted, and may even show its delight by drawing a hard red line preventing Syria from deploying into Lebanon in support of Hezbollah. There would be a fine massacre, Hezbollah would see its power eaten up in a new Lebanese civil war, and the Lebanon we know could be lost for good as a Pandora’s Box of myriad evils is opened up. If that’s Hezbollah’s plan, then it’s a wonderful one: a wonderful formula for collective suicide.
 
We know Hezbollah doesn’t care. All other alternatives, the party realizes, would require it to eventually surrender its weapons, which would leave Hezbollah without a reason to exist. However, Hezbollah’s insistence on keeping its weapons will only prompt everyone else to arm, too. But if everybody is armed, then Hezbollah’s military advantage will slowly dissipate. So the party is pushing everybody into a strategy that is both suicidal and that is guaranteed to wipe away its military superiority.
 
It’s in moments like these that we wonder why Hezbollah is so often viewed as invincible. We’re pretty normal people, but we can already see a train wreck in the making, and whoever comes out of a train wreck in better shape? Hezbollah just can’t see the forest for the trees. Worse, it thinks it can destroy the forest and still proceed as if nothing happened. 

  • Dahia

    sami is running out of comments....LOL....LOL....

    July 18, 2008

  • Sami

    Lomh live Sameer.thank you Iran and thank you Syria, thank you Dr. Bashar.

    July 18, 2008

  • Dahia

    Let's celebrate the return of the terrorist samir Kantar......

    July 16, 2008

  • Cedars

    Sami, i want my kids and everyone else's kids to live in peace, having weapons with you terrorist will not give us peace. ""There should only be one army""

    July 16, 2008

  • Sami

    HA is negotiating to free our men, and Syria is negotiating to get back Golan.What are you defending Lebanon's enemy for?Israel calls for the Disarming of HA and calls them terrorists, you call them terrorists and call for them to disarm, hmmmm aren't you and Israel are one and the same?

    July 15, 2008

  • Dahia

    Thank you cedars....You answer my questions.

    July 15, 2008

  • Cedars

    Sámi, as long as hassan is negotiating with Israel to get the prisoners back why doesn't he finish the job and sign a peace treaty with Israel? Syria is doing it, it seems your terrorists the Hizeb in contact at all times with Israel, and you're calling us on Israel's side? I don't negotiate with Israel, your Hizeb does. Let's not forget 1701, includes 1559 and also includes no more weapons to cross the border from the terrorrist country syria.

    July 15, 2008

  • Sami

    New information to you, Dahia, Lebanon is in an armistice with Israel not peace.The 1701 has a cessation to violent acts but not a stop to the war on Lebanon.Comparing the Lebanese army to the Israeli one is not realistic since our army does not occupy other peoples land.If and when we sign a peace treaty with Israel then and only then it would be prudent to disarm all resistance.Meanwhile stop calling others terrorists since this is what Israel calls them, are you on Israel's side?

    July 14, 2008

  • Dahia

    Sámi, did Israel disarm? It is like asking the Lebanese army to disarm. NO Lebanon is not at war, it is at war when the HA attack the enemies. Let us all join and NO ONE can attack us. By war, hatred, illegal weapons (used against innocent Lebanese), we will all lose, specially your terrorists the HA.

    July 14, 2008

  • Sami

    Dahia, tell me why should HA give up its arms in time of war, and tell me why are you and m14 calling for this?Lebanon is STILL at war with Israel, did Israel disarm or you only want HA to disarm so they can come in Lebanon any time and destroy it again.This call is tantamount to a call by the French government to the French Resistance to disarm while the German occupation still there.By just calling HA a terrorist you took sides and we know with who.

    July 10, 2008

  • Dahia

    Sami, let's prove tothe world that they are wrong about the Hizeb. Give the weapons to the army, join the government as a political party. This will prove to the world that the Hizeb are not planing anymore terrorrists attacks.

    July 9, 2008

  • Sami

    When will you people stop standing with the foreigners against your fellow Lebanese?Britain, US and Israel will not help you and will abandon you in hard times as they did to you in Jabal and with the SLA.You celebrate when Britain classifies your fellow Lebanese as terrorists and you celebrate when Israel bombs them, shame, shame.

    July 9, 2008

  • Rabieh

    Let's not forget what the hizeb does and good at. October the 13th 1990- After the surrender of the Lebanese army and the Syrian invasion of the presidential residence in Baabda

    July 8, 2008

  • Dahia

    Let's not forget what the hizeb did to Beirut. No room for terrorrist in lebanon, yesterday Britain announced that, and more to come.

    July 8, 2008

  • Cedars

    sami and his brother le pnenecian, the Hizeb are the terrorrist, aoun was against them all along. Please do not compare the lebanese army to your terrorrist group...

    July 8, 2008

  • Sami

    Well said phenecien, the rest are nothing .

    July 5, 2008

  • le phenicien

    The entente between GMA and SAYED has changed the whole " donne politique " in Lebanon . HEZB today has become our National Guard ! What HEZB can do , our army cant ! We will never let the Palestinian and Saoudi Salafists-Wahabists terrorists turn our country into a Hariristan / Emara Wahabiyeh ! a saoudi satellite after TAWTEEN of the Sunni Palestinians of the camps that are all terrorists and well armed and financed by Hariri for that purpose .

    July 5, 2008

  • Sami

    Wa;id, what do you mean by your statement:"raze shite"??

    July 2, 2008

  • LEBINLON

    I agree with the author and ask : what to do ? shall we wait for an illusory state to take control but with a thousand red lines ? or shall we make do with what the Hezb cronies (including in this column) lord upon us about the Hezb not "wishing" to invade us while slowly going in our lands and montain tops ? How long before somebody shouts "to arms" , gets financing and raise angry masses ? did you see the contained violence in Sami Gemayel ? time for a changing of the guards perhaps.

    June 30, 2008

  • ll

    With a certain amout of blood to build terror, willingness to fight, threats plus some bribing 15% can control 85%. Saddam Hussein did.

    June 29, 2008

  • Sami

    Initial outbreak, 1975–76 and Syrian intervention Constitutionally guaranteed Christian control of the government had come under increasing fire from Muslims and leftists, leading them to join forces as the National Movement in 1969, which called for the taking of a new census and the subsequent drafting of a new governmental structure that would reflect the census results. Political tension became military conflict, with full-scale civil war in April 1975. The Maronite leadership called for Syrian intervention in 1976, leading to the presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon, and an Arab summit in 1976 was called to stop the crisis The above is from the site "Wikipedia".You asked for the Syrian intervention and later for the Israeli occupation, stop the misinformation.

    June 28, 2008

  • JSS

    HA has no motive to take over or rule Lebanon. In fact, the only insurance for HA and the shia community to survive in Lebanon is to preserve and protect the diversity of Lebanon. Converting the Palestinian refugees into Lebanese citizens “al tawteen” is the real goal. This goal created a win-win relation between the future movement, Israel, western supporters, and Saudi kingdom. If succeeded, the Sunnis will become a majority. Soon after, Lebanon becomes a Saudi wahhabi “imara”. This is the real battle and the disaster that HA and supporters are fighting against and trying to avert. The future Saudi prince has been in the making for a longtime and is well known by Lebanese people. To all patriotic Lebanese people I say: Let’s not get blinded by the smoke carefully spread around to hide the real battle.

    June 28, 2008

  • Sami

    Matador, i was hoping that you would call for resistance against those who occupy your land in the same fervor as you are calling to fight HA.Is HA "occupation" of Beirut more resistible than Israeli occupation?Your promises of a fight against HA is nothing but awham same as your majority wahmiyeh.

    June 28, 2008

  • Joe K

    The hizb claimed it acted in self-defense on May7 against supposed government decisions which aimed at them. This zionist government that hizballah wants to partner in politics. The decisions were resversed, yet The hizb's policiesof fuelling conflicts remains. Only gullable FPM stooges believe the hizb and support it.Good luck to them, BUT they know that when it comes to the crunch, their plot to take over Lebanon will be met by an unseen-before resistance. What is happening on the high grounds is simply unacceptable and I call upon all other parties to take their rightful place and keep their eyes open for

    June 28, 2008

  • Sami

    I understood from this editorial that HA lost the battle against the Druze who united (Junblat and Erslan and Wahab) against HA.I also understood that HA called Erslan and begged him to stop the fight.I also understood that HA surrendered its posts to the army including all its weapons and that Sayyed Hassans house was surrounded by the Druze.Are all these facts or fictions

    June 28, 2008

  • shirin

    Jeanne, to answer your quetion, Israel has already declared that next war will be on all Lebanon. of course, HA does not give a damn, it is exactly what is looking for as its strives in climate of destruction and blood., the consquences of its arms, the vry raison d`'être of HA. one wonders! HA wants Israel to keep attacking so that HA can pursue with its slogans of jihad and eternal fighting against the enemy. for HA to exist and survive, Lebanon has to die a thousand deaths. the truth is that Lebanon, which existed for thousand years, will remain when all will fade away

    June 28, 2008

  • OmarS

    Pack of lies. the only reason there hasnt been a civil war is because the opposition has shown restraint in dealing withamerican/zionist controlled belligerent govt.

    June 27, 2008

  • Solomon2

    "For the party’s strategy to be effective in the long term, it needs to have the capacity to occupy territory and hold it, not just control access routes.But does it have such a capacity? Plainly no." Do not fool yourselves into thinking that Hezbo isn't trying to develop this capability even as we write. Nevertheless, there are still battles that can be fought and won successfully against Hezbollah. The most effective one, based on the Iraqi experience, is kicking out the Iranians. Under the Constitution, President Suleiman has the authority to kick out the entire Iranian diplomatic delegation and place the Iranian embassy under lock and key. The Lebanese Army can deploy to enforce this, just as they kept Hezbollah out of key ministries last month.

    June 27, 2008

  • Jeanne

    On top of all that, should there be a new Israeli venture like in 2006, there would be no red lines that time and bombardment may well involve all of Lebanon on the pretext of HA's deployment. Not that HA would care

    June 27, 2008

  • RM

    I believe this editorial is too optimist in the sense that it is not known whether Hezbollah can or cannot control all the country if it wants on a long term basis. This is simply not known I think although the article assumes it is a fact that such an inbalance of power on the ground for the long term is possible. Of course, the other side, M14 that is, want to convince Hezbollah that this is the case as a detterent. We should ask ourselves I think what are the hard empirical fact on Hezbollah's capability to occupy all of Lebanon? How much are they infiltrated in christian/sunni/druze neighborhoods and villages? Is Hezbollah's military, tactical startegic advantage insurmountable for the other factions> Note also that the Syrian supply line will not be as easily cut as this editorial notes in case of an all out war. This is a treacherous landscape which is very hard to control.

    June 27, 2008