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The Death of Cedars? By: Mordechai Nisan
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Hezbollah (“The Party of God”) was established in 1982, three years after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran, to facilitate the infiltration of the Khoumeini radical Shiite doctrine into Lebanon. With a native population base grieved by years of deprivation, the new party would advance the community’s welfare while serving as a proxy for Islamic imperialism in the Middle East.

In 1980, Iran and Syria formed a strategic alliance against Iraq in the context of the Persian Gulf War. Instead of supporting its neighboring Arab sister-state, Syria’s Baathist regime joined with Persian Iran against Iraq. The Alawites under the Assad family, in power in Damascus since 1970, are a mysterious sectarian offshoot of Shiism formed about a thousand years ago.

 

The triangular ‘Shiite’ axis was now in place. Syria never accepted Lebanon as an independent country, considering it the Syrian hinterland and coastline. Hezbollah, coinciding with Syria’s historical aspiration to crush Lebanon by weakening and manipulating its Maronite Christian community, winced under Christian domination of Lebanon. Syria also wanted Hezbollah to destabilize the security situation with Israel. Iran, for her part, aspired to Islamicize Lebanon while acquiring a staging-ground across Israel’s northern border for attacks against the ‘Zionist entity’.

 

In 1989, the Syrian-orchestrated Taif Accord called for the disarming of all militias in Lebanon. Indeed, all disarmed – except Hezbollah. Syria as the power-broker of Lebanon saw in Hezbollah an agent to prevent the national institutions of Lebanon from exercising political sovereign rule. This converged neatly with Syria’s grandiose ambition to dominate Lebanon.

 

Ever since, Lebanon’s decline has been irreversible. 

 

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Recent events in Lebanon indicate that Hezbollah, as a Syrian and Iranian surrogate, has no intention of fulfilling either the Taif Accord or United Nations resolutions – 1559 from 2004 and 1701 from 2006 – to disarm. Hezbollah does not recognize the Lebanese republic’s national authority and legitimate government. Its party adherents want to obliterate the country’s special national and very liberal ethos in favor of a monolithic Islamic religious identity and loyalty. 

 

The argument, that Hezbollah needs weapons to defend Lebanon from Israel, is grossly fallacious. Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in May 2000, and hoped for a quiet border with Lebanon. Hezbollah refused to honor the border, and attacked Israeli territory, murdering its civilians and killing its soldiers on numerous occasions. The attack of July 12 near Zarit, including the kidnapping of two soldiers, led to the summer war with Israel. Thereafter, Israel again withdrew its army from southern Lebanon without any desire to control any Lebanese territory at all. But Hezbollah argues tendentiously that it needs its weapons to defend Lebanon from Israel.

 

The weapons that Hezbollah keeps are not for defending Lebanon from Israel, but for subjugating and bludgeoning Lebanon into submission to its pan-Islamic plans.

 

Hezbollah’s purpose in remaining armed is to shift power away from the Christians and the Sunnis into Shiite hands. This usurpation is a step toward capturing full control of political power, intimidating and demoting other communities, and Islamicizing the entire country. Hezbollah’s lethal threat to the national fabric of Lebanese society is ominous and long-term, and backed by two regional powers.

 

With Syria responsible for the assassination of Lebanese personalities, Christians in particular, Hezbollah’s intimate alliance with Syria is directed against fellow Lebanese compatriots. It is in bed with the Syrian devil in order to consummate the demise of the Lebanese state.

 

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Considering the confrontational political climate in Lebanon, no domestic compromise with Hezbollah may be feasible at this point. A trade-off of greater power-sharing for the Shiites, with Hezbollah disarming in turn, could be a reasonable arrangement. But this would not satisfy the goals of Iranian and Hezbollah jihad – against Lebanon and Israel. The stakes are far higher than how many Shiite ministers sit in the Lebanese cabinet.
 

Two formidable points buttress Lebanon at this point in time. The first relates to the impressive unity of political ranks characterizing the March 14 Cedars Coalition, including the integrity and unity of the army. And the second concerns the international political trajectory demanding the establishment of a court to try the suspected assassins of Rafiq Hariri, as well as Pierre Gemayel, Gibran Tueni, Samir Kassir, George Hawi, and others, while the political noose tightens around the neck of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

 

Hezbollah knows that if Assad falls, it cannot stand.

 

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Dr. Mordechai Nisan teaches Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has written The Conscience of Lebanon: A Political Biography of Etienne Sakr (Abu Arz).


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