Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fast Forward

Did we really expect it to be any different from this?

As the conflict in Nahr el Bared dragged on, and as indications that Syria intended to intensify the conflict became more evident, there has been one nagging sentiment that has permeated the situation on the ground: Syria (and its allies in Lebanon) would not - could not! - allow the Lebanese in general, and the Lebanese Army in particular, to emerge victorious from the battle for Nahr el Bared.

And so, with our Minister of Defense's premature articulation of the words "Victory in Nahr el Bared", came the latest hand in the Syrian regime's cards of terror in Lebanon. A hand that was facilitated by the errant diplomacy of European administrations reluctant to play the game by the only rules that apply to this regime. There is no such thing as a policy of appeasement with a regime that has thrived solely on its ability to strike with "plausible deniability".

Today, while Spain buries the its latest victims in Syria's war for Lebanon, while its foreign minister pleads with his counterpart - not in Lebanon but - in Iran for "help in uncovering the identity of the assailants", Hizballah has announced that it would be conducting its own investigation into who carried out an attack in an area of the country where the organization (militia) is already securely in control, and where booby-trapped cars are parked only with its consent.

Hizballah will go through the motions of an investigation the purpose of which (taken along with the rocket launch last week) will be to undercut the effectiveness of the UNIFIL deployment and to undermine the authority of the state even after a Lebanese Army deployment to the area after an absence of 25 years. More importantly, however, the attacks (and "investigation") will have come after the withdrawal of a number of Army units from the South to assist in the fight at Nahr el Bared and the security crises created by Syria's foot-soldiers in the other Palestinian bases (both inside and outside the camps) as well as the ongoing charade downtown.

Writing several days before this most recent attack, the Dailystar's Michael Young hinted as to the direction Syria's combined campaigns in the country might be heading:
What would the purpose of this second government be, beyond wreaking havoc in the country and putting pressure on Siniora's government? Simply, to neutralize the effectiveness of the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL in the South, by making their interlocutor in the state unclear. Many have overlooked that the Nahr al-Bared fighting might have been a stage in a process to render the army less effectual in South Lebanon. Several units have been pulled out of the South in the past six months - first to prevent sectarian clashes in Beirut after the opposition built its tent city in the Downtown area last December; then to engage in fighting in the North. This has given Hizbullah much more room to maneuver in the border area, while also opening space up for groups operated from Syria. Even if Hizbullah did not fire the rockets against Kiryat Shmona on Sunday - probably the work of pro-Syrian Palestinians - it almost certainly was aware of the attack, and did not oppose it.


For Syria and Iran, as well as for Hizbullah, Resolution 1701 is the door through which the international community entered Lebanon in force, after Resolution 1559 and the Hariri tribunal. That's the reason Tehran and Damascus want to render UNIFIL powerless, even though there will remain useful idiots in Europe who think they can reach an understanding with the Syrian regime to protect UN forces. Syria has no interest in this, however, because it has likely taken a strategic decision with Iran to remove any vestige of international influence in Lebanon - as it did in Gaza - with the goal of reviving its domination over the country.
In unleashing this most recent wave of terrorist activity in the South, the regime next door was neither a new trick nor an unexpected one. And while the body counts may not add up just yet, Bashar's use of the handbook of terror employed by his father, coupled with the urgency of this regime's sequence of actions, has generated a feeling of deja vu as the events that plagued the country throughout its civil war are played back, in fast-forward. And where attacks on international troops have come, attacks against embassies have been quick to follow. But there is time yet before that card is played, time yet to allow Syria's fifth column in the country to try, once again, at launching coup on the government and the state - a fast forwarding that will take the country from the Syrian orchestrated-Iranian delivered reality of 1983 to the Syrian orchestrated-Aoun delivered reality of 1989.

So in the wake of another failed Arab League mission to draw the country's opposition forces into negotiations and compromises within the Lebanese domestic arena - and without the panderings to and coercive influence of the regime in Syria - the country prepares for yet another showdown. One, the trigger for which will be pulled by September and the arrival of presidential elections, and one an overburdened Army and an overstressed population may not be able to control.

Before I go I'll leave you with a series of quotes, from different sources and different junctures in time.


"The Syrians and Iranians may be thinking along the same lines in Lebanon. Create a parallel government; erode UNIFIL's effectiveness while compelling the Lebanese Army to manage Syrian-created security brushfires; press your advantage against the drained Americans, the spineless Europeans, and the debilitated Arabs; and then, when the international community and Arab states are truly lost, strike using Hizbullah and drive your coup toward its logical conclusion: a new Pax-Syria in Lebanon, supported by Iran." (Michael Young, 7/22/07).


"The first casualty of a Chapter 7 tribunal will be UNSCR 1701 and UNIFIL." (Wiam Wahhab - Syria's pitbull and agent in Lebanon, 2/8/07. H/T Anton Efendi).

'Regarding the Syrian stand on these forces, Moallem explained that Damascus "does not want these international forces to meet the same fate of the multinational forces in 1983".' (Al-Hayat, 8/1/06 - [Syria's Foreign Minister Walid] Moallem Warns Against Turning Lebanon 'Into Another Iraq' and 'Al-Qa'ida' Infiltration. H/T Anton Efendi).


"In that case, what the Syrians would be looking for would be a way of forcing the international community, or more specifically the broader western contingent of the incoming UN force, to be in need of the regime’s services. By instigating untraceable attacks – easily attributed to Al-Qaeda or other fundamentalist groups – the Syrians would in effect be creating a situation in which they could provide for the security of the international troops, or even of the Lebanese state as a whole in the worst case scenario, through a quick and well-greased re-infiltration of the Lebanese internal intelligence and security bodies.

This would in effect be a replay of the events encountered throughout Lebanon’s recent past in which untraceable explosions ripped through the cities and towns of the country creating sectarian fears and suspicions, in which Syrian supported Palestinian factions infiltrated the country, and in which a destabilized and dangerous internal situation prompted the international community to consent to an enforced Syrian occupation.

Our hope now is that the Lebanese government can successfully downgrade the threat to the UNIFIL 2 troops and thus eliminate a relatively easy and untraceable way to creating instability, while at the same time, we hope that this armed body will be robust enough to aid the Lebanese Army in its enforcement of the government’s will over the entirety of Lebanon’s territory." (Blacksmith Jade, 8/31/06).


  1. If UNIFIL lives up to it's past performances, the Lebanese will get no help from that quarter. The U.N. has never been able to fulfill it's charter, so don't expect them to start now.

    It's up to the Lebanese, unless they call for help from the U.S. Which of course, they will never do.

    Even accepting weapons, euipment and ammo from the U.S. caused many within Lebanon strife and shame.

    Why? Don't ask me, ask them.

    Papa Ray
    West Texas

  2. Jimmy4:58 AM

    Lebanon is under by outsiders and insiders. Our state and institutions are there to deal with the insiders, the world body and its institutions should be there to deal with the outsiders.


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