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Beirut: 24 Years Later By: Dr. Joseph Hitti
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, October 23, 2007


On the occasion of the 24th commemoration of the bombing of the US Marines Barracks in Beirut (October 23, 1983) by Hezbollah, we re-post the 2003 piece below since it captures the mood of the transformation in US foreign policy that took place after 2001. Syria and Hezbollah are no longer the “factor of stability” that Richard Murphy and Edward Djeredjian of the US State Department were so fond of telling the Lebanese between 1975 and 2003; it became an “occupation”. And the US no longer runs away out of fear of Syria and Hezbollah, like Ronald Reagan did in 1983; today the West is fighting tooth and nail to rein in the Iranian appendage Hezbollah and restore normal life to Lebanon. The Lebanese people are tired of the wars of others on their soil; Western intervention through the UN is Lebanon’s only hope.

To the neo-Lebanese nationalists who have embraced Hezbollah as a “national resistance”, we say that no one wants to eliminate the Shiites of Lebanon. They are a pillar of Lebanese society and a full-fledged community among those that constitute the Lebanese nation.

But there is a huge difference between Hezbollah and the Shiite community. Hezbollah, the killer of peacekeepers, the kidnapper and murderer of ministers, journalists, teachers, priests, nuns and nurses, the bomber of embassies, universities and cultural centers, the hijacker of planes, the usurper of national Lebanese institutions, the assassin of university presidents, the Iranian and Syrian agent, the Islamic fundamentalist movement, the hater of the West, of Christians and Jews, and all of Hezbollah’s other constitutive attributes, cannot be swept under the rug. Hezbollah may have transformed itself in 20 years from a terrorist organization into a terrorist political organization, but it remains a terrorist organization that negotiates with its declared enemy Israel but denies the sovereign State of Lebanon the right to do so; it uses its 20,000 missiles as a negotiating instrument; and it occupies large swaths of Lebanese territory where the State is denied entry. Hezbollah must be held accountable for its actions, those of today and those of 20 years ago. Hezbollah’s actions in the early 1980s as the proxy of Syria and Iran to cleanse Lebanon of any Western presence and deliver the country to the Syrian occupation have indeed delayed a solution to the Lebanese crisis for another quarter of a century. Hezbollah does not represent the true aspirations of the Lebanese Shiites; it is a caricature of that community which it imposes on them with Iranian money and ideology, and Syrian criminality. Cut the Iranian purse and sever the Syrian link, and the Lebanese Shiite community will finally be itself to discard the Hezbollah anomaly.



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