Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Analysis of the Aftermath

Currently, the cease-fire is a few days old and surprisingly still exists in its uncertain form. From the lack of major incidents since monday morning, one can deduce that both sides have shed a lot of blood and are too exhausted to continue fighting, especially Hizballah due to their smaller manpower. As a result, the dust is settling and new questions and scenarios are emerging.

What have we gained through this war and what have we lost?

There are numerous points which one can list and here are the most important ones. The Shebaa farms issue is finally on the discussion table at the U.N and with good behaviour we will probably get that piece of land back (as long as Syria signs it over to us). We still have the Israeli soldiers which will be negotiated for the release of some of our countrymen. The Lebanese army is sending 15'000 troops to the South as well as 15'000 U.N forces belonging to friendly nations. That will help loosen the grip that Hizballah has in the South.

This is important for Lebanon as it is very easy to create conflict in a country where you have an entire chunk of the country influenced by a single party. This situation is not unique to Hiballah but can be perfectly extended to Jumblatt's grip on the Chouf or to a lesser extent the Lebanese Forces' grip on certain areas in the mountains. The only difference between the above mentioned parties is Hizballah's military strength. Moreover, the government of Lebanon can be taken more seriously than in the beginning of July, primarly due to the decision of sending its own troops to the South.

So all these new developments technically should sound decent, right?

Unfortunately, the subject becomes rather sketchy when Hizballah's disarmament is dicussed. We all know that disarming Hizballah right now is impossible. To disarm an organization, especially one which is now more widely respected and admired than ever, immediately after a successful military campaign does not make sense even to the most ardent Hizballah opponents. This process should be done slowly and through sensitive internal diplomacy. Luckily no time frame for disarming Hizballah is mentioned in U.N.S.C Resolution 1701

Right now all we have to do is to influence Hizballah to such a degree that they will at least withdraw to north of the Litani and/or make sure that all weapons and fighters in the South go dark for a very long time. The Lebanese state, by showing the world that it has some kind of weight in pushing Hizballah into the right direction, will then also have found in Hizballah an extremely powerful bargaining chip vis-a-vis the international community. We could bargain the West for upgrading our army to some degree and bargain for money in order for the government to rebuild the country, especially since the other great contributor of aid will be Hizballah, paying with Iran's credit card. Hizballah promised large sums of money, in the thousands of dollars, to people who have lost their homes in order for them to secure housing for this coming year. As mentioned over and over again, the Lebanese state has to become the one to provide those services in order for them to gain the trust of the Shia community and disrupt their habit of turning to Hizballah when in need of social services. Nothing against Hizballah's social services, as they have helped countless people in the past, but it is not the place of a political party but rather the duty of the state to distribute such services. Unless the state is unable or unwilling to....as the Lebanese state was in the past. Now were Hizballah actually to pay those sums they promised the people rendered homeless due to the war, then the Lebanese government could never compete with them. The only way for the government to play the role of the grand beneficiary would be with lots of money from our friends in the world, and not only to rebuild destroyed infrastructure but also the thousands of homes which were destroyed.

The price which we paid for those new alternatives is rather huge, many lives were lost and many homes destroyed. Our coastline is one huge oil slik and every single Lebanese has been affected by this war, be it by the inconvenience of power rationing.

What makes implementing those new options difficult is the fact that Hizballah is dancing a victory dance. They basically knocked the Israelis out. The Israelis, with the most sophisticated weapons which exist in today's world, could not manage to take over towns such as Bint Jbail after 2 weeks of fighting. Hizballah's underground bunkers are still intact and most of their missiles are most probably still existant.

They are a very powerful force to reckon with, but ultimately they are going to be to disarmed. That will take a while but with diplomacy and patience, this too can be achieved. Finally, for Lebanon's sake, not only Hizballah should be disarmed but all other (ex)-militias as well. Those other parties (LF, PSP) might not have Hizballah's vast arsenal, but they still have small weaponry and the personell to operate them.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:37 PM

    You can't compare Hizballah to the other parties, the other parties don't have the capacity to plunge Lebanon into a war as destructive as this one.

    Hizballah is the biggest threat to Lebanon, if we wait too long we just give them another chance to do what they did again.

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  2. Dear Mr. Anonymous

    This post was not about comparing Hizballah to the other parties. The only instances in which I mention other parties is to criticize the notion of the total control of a large area by one party. As Hizballah dominates what goes and what does not in the South, in the Chouf barely anything gets done without Jumblatt's consent.
    Furthermore, in the spirit of collecting weapons from militias, one is not to forget the hundreds of weapon caches still held by a few parties other than Hizballah all over Lebanon.

    Finally, I did not ask anyone to wait on disarming Hizballah. The process should start now, but understandily will take a while to complete.
    Unless you are willing to go and accomplish that feat on your own.

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  3. Anonymous7:26 PM

    Hi

    This has come out rather long. *shrug*

    As a Lebanese Christian living in Beirut during this time, I have to admit I was annoyed at Hizballah "starting" this "war".

    Of course, if you've been keeping up with the news, articles, research, etc. you'll realize it was only a matter of time before Israel attacked. Or defended, since it's the IDF.

    I will admit that Hizballah's timing was off though.
    1) they should have waited 'til after the summer / tourist season to do whatever they wanted.
    2) They are part of the government now! They can't just take us to war on their own like that!


    The Shebaa farms issue is finally on the discussion table at the U.N and with good behaviour we will probably get that piece of land back (as long as Syria signs it over to us).


    Syria has mentioned (several times ) that the Shebaa farms are Lebanese. They have NOT, and continue not to, admit it on paper.
    Bastards, yes.


    That will help loosen the grip that Hizballah has in the South.


    You missed the point, as did the Americans, the Israelis, and probably the Syrians soon enough.

    Hizballah is strong because they ARE the South.
    The people that defended / The Hizballah resistance fighters live there. They're defending their homes. These are people that continue to fight through injuries and bullets. They're stopping tanks. They continue to fight through bullets (well, until a rocket blows them to pieces).

    More effectively than the military in fact.
    1) We can't afford to arm, train, update, repair, etc. our broke army! They're weaponless man..
    2) Armies don't fight as splinter groups etc... no vietcong-style tactics, obviously.
    3) Mobility, man. How do you get an army to the south? At least Hizballah already live there...


    This situation is not unique to Hiballah but can be perfectly extended to Jumblatt's grip on the Chouf or to a lesser extent the Lebanese Forces' grip on certain areas in the mountains. The only difference between the above mentioned parties is Hizballah's military strength.


    There are more differences. For one, Hizballah is the only party that has not fought Lebanon (ala civil war). Unlike Jumblatt, whose goals and allies change with hiw mood, Hizballah has maintained the same goals, aims, etc. since the very beginning.

    Re: the comments about Hizballah's disarmament.

    Now is NOT a good time to pressure Hizballah. Sure, they're weak now. They've lost a lot. In terms of money, infrastructure, people, UN resolutions, etc.
    But pressuring the group that sacrificed (a lot!) to "win" a war --- that's bad sportsmanship. Hell, it's betrayal! Of course, Hizballah SHOULD disarm. But pressuring them like we see every other day from our corrupt politicians on tv and the americans --- that's not how it's done.


    We could bargain the West for upgrading our army to some degree

    Wishful thinking ;-)
    1) Israel (aka "the West") would never agree.
    2) Upgrading the army costs mucho denari. Maintaining it costs even more. We are Lebanese! We don't want to spend on guns! We want to spend on women and alcohol etc..!


    the other great contributor of aid will be Hizballah, paying with Iran's credit card. Hizballah promised large sums of money, in the thousands of dollars, to people who have lost their homes in order for them to secure housing for this coming year


    Hizballah has already started paying. To Shiite, Christian, etc. alike. Anyone who lost their homes etc. are being paid --- all you have to do is take your ikhraj aid (to show that this really is you) and the deed to your house. This is a good thing! You make it sound like it's the work of Satan! There's nothing wrong with spending "Iran's credit card" money on helping people and rebuilding!


    Nothing against Hizballah's social services, as they have helped countless people in the past, but it is not the place of a political party but rather the duty of the state to distribute such services.


    They also build schools and hospitals and have contractors&construction to work (free!) At least for now, they are better than the government.


    Now were Hizballah actually to pay those sums they promised the people rendered homeless due to the war, then the Lebanese government could never compete with them.


    Paying, clean-up, and rebuilding has already started.


    The price which we paid for those new alternatives is rather huge, many lives were lost and many homes destroyed.


    Mostly "we" didn't pay ...

    What is interesting to note, is that Hizballah has, time and again, stated that they are willing to disarm when
    1) Shebaa farms are returned to Lebanon.
    2) Hostage Negotiations (we all know this)
    3) Maps of the minefields are given to us.

    Why not TELL the damn West "Look. You want Hizballah to disarm. These are their terms!" If those terms are met, that's when we can pressure Hizballah!

    I realize what it may sound like, but I am not a member of the Hizb ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hezb'allah will disarm when Iran is at peace with the west and the Sunni states , i.e never.

    ReplyDelete

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