Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lebanon Becomes Hezbollahstan

After essentially capturing most of Beirut, Hezbollah continues to consolidate its control over Lebanon..aided and abetted by its ally General Michel Suleiman and the Shiite dominated Lebanese Army.

The latest offensives by Hezbollah and its allies have proceeded along two fronts, and both attacks are designed to control strategic locations and eliminate any remaining armed resistance to Hezbollah rule.

The first attack was towards the Druse strongholds and villages in the Chouf Mountains, east of Beirut.The Druse actually held out quite well for a while, but were handicapped by a lack of arms and ammunition. And after the US apparently ignored their plea for an emergency airlift of arms, the battle turned in Hezbollah's favor.

With ammo running low, no outside help in sight and casualties mounting, Druse leader Walid Jumblatt was forced to ask for terms.

Hezbollah responded with an ultimatum, telling Jumblatt to pull his militiamen out of their bases and strongholds and turn over their heavy weaponry to the Lebanese Army..or else.

Jumblatt, under siege by Hezbollah at his home in Beirut was forced to accede to Hezbollah's terms and plead for the lives of his people on national television, while ordering his men to lay down their weapons and place their fate in the hands of the Lebanese army.

The Shiite-dominated army, however, has its own agenda, as Jumblatt no doubt knew...and that agenda involves collaborating with Hezbollah. They are refusing to intervene to protect the Druse in the slightest, and Jumblatt's men are waging a desperate losing battle to try and protect their villages.

Hezbollah has brought in heavy artillery with assistance from the Syrians and are shelling the Druse positions as I write this. Once those positions fall, Hezbollah will have control of the hills which command the entire Beirut plateau...and have eliminated a key roadblock in its quest for control of the country.

The other Hezbollah assault is directed at the northern port of Tripoli,a key Sunni stronghold, where the army is likewise refusing to intervene. The attacks by Hezbollah and its allies are designed to crush any armed resistance to Hezbollah in this key northern port, which is important to Hezbollah and Syria as a supply hub for incoming Iranian arms.

Once the Druse are defeated and Tripoli is under Hezbollah's thumb, the only other major armed factions are majority leader Saad Hariri’s Sunni forces in Sidon - where the next blow will likely fall - and the Christian Phalangists led by Samir Geagea.

Once there's no credible armed might left to counter Hezbollah and with the army under Hezbollah ally General Michel Suleiman, Nasrullah and his Syrian and Iranian masters probably have no need to actually overthrow the Siniora government immediately. They will be able to control it and order it to do whatever they want.

Lebanon's destiny is to become a colony of Iran and Syria....Gaza on a larger scale.

And like Gaza, it is yet another "success' by Condi Rice and the Bush Administration..although they had some willing collaborators.

This could have been prevented.

Instead of insisting on a UN ceasefire at the moment the IDF had Hezbollah's forces surrounded in an iron ring, Condi Rice, aided and abetted by Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and his foreign minister Tzipi Livni could have allowed the IDF to finish the job.

Having acceded to a farcical ceasefire (which, if we believe America's then UN ambassador John Bolton, was negotiated under extreme pressure at the behest of Condi Rice)either the US or even more appropriately the Israelis could have insisted that Hezbollah be disarmed in accordance with UN resolution 1701 before lifting the aerial and naval blockade of the country.

And finally, the UN could have actually used the 15,000 UNIFIL forces to defend the Lebanese government from Hezbollah and to prevent Hizbullah's rearmament and redeployment, and taken meaningful action against Iran and Syria for re-arming Hezbollah in violation of 1701.

None of these things happened, of course, and the Bush Adminsitration essentially did nothing about it except to throw $1.4 billion at the problem...with the result we see today.

This is almost exactly the same scenario by the same actors that accompanied the creation of Hamastan in Gaza; the lusting after the mirage of `Arab democracy' by the Bush Administration, the investment of billions of dollars in supposed 'moderates' like Abbas and Siniora, security concessions on the ground imposed on a weak and servile Israeli government, total failure to counteract the arming and training of militant proxies by Iran, and an ineffectual response when faced with armed takeovers.

You could call it a comedy of errors, except for the blood and treasure it will undoubtedly cost the West one day. And that day may not be as far off as some think.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

There's virtually nothing the US can do at this point. Its military is worn thin and its economy is collapsing due in large part to a huge debt load. The ones who asked the Americans for a weapons air lift were not very bright. The US could not have honored this request even if it wanted to.

Also, while perhaps we should support the Druse because Hezbollah is a much more dangerous enemy than they are and the "enemy of my enemy is my friend",it should be understood that the Druse are not our friends. They are in fact a bitter enemy of the United States. Finally, the US could not have assisted them even if it wanted to. Its hard to beleive they would be dumb enough to ask.

I do agree that Israel should have finished off Hezbollah when the chace was right there. To do so would have required a military operation lasting for a minimum of three months and probably for at least six months.

This enemy is very powerful and very dangerous. We should understand that. In order to win, the US will need to VASTLY increase its military capabilities. As it stands now, it could have provided meaningful help to the Druse even if it wanted to. The Druse were either very stupid or very desparate to request it. Perhaps both.

Bagua said...

Good analysis and wrap up of the situation in Lebanon Joshua.

Here a Lebanese view of the situation that is worth reading http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2008/05/is_this_the_dem.php

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello, Anonymous
If you read the link, what the Druse were actually requesting, it wasn't men but arms and ammo. We turned them down not because of being unable to provide it, but because of back an dforth back channel negotiations between us and Iran over Iran's nukes, IMO.

I don't agree with you that the Druse are our enemies - as non-Muslims, they are pretty much trying to swim in a sea of aharks, and have assisted the West at different times...while some have sought protection by doing the shark's bidding.

Based on what I've heard from my IDF contacts, they were outraged at both the mismanagement of the war and the proclamation of a ceasefire when they had Hezbollah's positions in South Lebanon surrounded. ( You'll rmember that Olmert finally sent the IDF ground troops in full force towards the end). From what I've heard, they feel they could have destroyed Hezbollah in South Lebanon in about two to three more weeks or so of fighting,since they had already crossed the Litani and split the Hezbos in South Lebanon off from their bases in the Bek'aa Valley so they couldn't be reinforced or resupplied except from the air...which the IDF controlled.

To go after the remainder of Hezbollah's positions in the North and in Beirut would have involved another six weeks or so, mainly because the Lebanese army would doubtless have OFFICIALLY come in, and probably the Syrians as well.

I don't agree with you that our military is `worn thin' and our economy is collapsing..although I think you're correct that we will need to vastly exapand and change both for the coming war.It's largely a question of leadership and that leadership's independence from the influence of certain Middl East kingdoms.

All Best,
ff

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Bagua
Thanks for the kind words and the link.

Anonymous said...

FF

Thanks for the reply to my post. I read the article. Apparently the Druse requested this aid over the week end then their positions fell early this week. I'm aware that it was weapons and not men that were being requested. The fact still remains that this type of shipment would have taken several weeks to get together. At a minimum, it would have taken a week. That is if every thing goes perfectly. If they thought they were in such imminent danger of collapsing, they shold have made this request sooner. Just getting the shipment together would require a bare minimum of a week and probably longer. Then once this is done, as there are likely Syrian air patrols over Lebanon, and the surrounding region, the Air Force needs to plan on how to evade these or on how to confront them.

Bottom line, there was no way for the US to fulfill this request in so short a time, even if it wanted to, which it may not have wanted to, as you point negotitians with Iran may have played a role.

Also, the statement in the aritcle, "you lose Lebanon you lose the Middle East," is plain silly. We don't control Lebanon or the Middle East, as such there is no way for us to "lose" what we don't have. Apparently these people are bone heads as well.

I agree wtih you that war with Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East terrorist supporting states is inevitable. We best begin preparing for it. We can begin by realizing that a powerful force like Hezbollah cannot be defeated in only a few weeks. If the IDF thinks they could have done it in another six weeks, I suggest the IDF get some new officers. Of course this will be up to Israelis, not Americans or anyone else.

The military is being worn thin. It is to small and lightly armed to do what it is being asked to do. While our troops are no doubt brave and our cause is just, the military needs to proper resources. Also, under massive private and public debt, the economy is collapsing. some politicians actually WANT these things to happen. They see opportunities for a red revolution here. I want to solve these probelmes. Pretending they don't exist is unhelpful.

section9 said...

Condi Rice took a lot of blame for a hideously incompetent Israeli Government's performance when the facts are rather obvious.

In the summer of '06, the Israelis assured Rice, Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney, that the IAF would be able to handle the Hezb'Allah. On that basis, Rice pursued her "delaying" diplomacy, to give the IDF a chance to produce results. What she never counted on was the lack of any strategic plan from Dan Halutz and Amir Peretz.

Consequently, because of the utter incompetence of the IDF senior staff and the criminal negligence in training later highlighted in the Winograd Report, Hezb'Allah was able to achieve several tactical successes as it staged a fighting retreat to the Litani. Arab pressure for a ceasefire built up and 1701 became inevitable.

The Israeli plan from the getgo was a display of studied incompetence. There was no plan for an armored thrust into Syria, and no plan for a charge into the Bekaa to deal with the Revolutionary Guards. It was all kabuki, and brave IDF soldiers, sons of Israel all, paid with their lives for this bufoonery.

Unfortunately, the Israeli Government, desperate to stay in power, found willing apologists like John Bolton, who should know better but is still bitter over the fact that he was never approved for U.N. Ambassador.

Lastly, the IDF's performance should be contrasted with the technical and leadership virtuousity of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, who have responded superbly to challenges in Anbar, Diyala, and other provinces with victory after victory, and have virtually annihilated Al Qaeda in Iraq, a much tougher opponent than the Hez. In their turn, General Petraeus has virtually defanged the Mahdhi Army and the Hez and Quds Force-trained Special Groups, so that Iranian influence in Iraq is on the wane. Iraq's victory in Basra and their control of Sadr City are results of these efforts.

The IDF has much to learn from us.

Why should WE fight for Lebanese who won't fight for themselves? Thanks, but no thanks. The Lebanese are quite capable of doing this on their own.

And if the Hez ramp up the missile war again? Well, then the IDF can go into Syria this time and finally clean things up the way it should have the last time.

But stop blaming the U.S. for Israeli incompetence and Israeli shortcomings. Our Army and Marine Corps knows how to win, they're doing it in Iraq as we speak. The IDF needs to relearn how to win, and without excuses.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Section 9,
Thanks for dropping by.

I agree with much of what you have to say here, but there are a few things you may not have considered. it is by no means a question of absolving the Olmert government by blaming the US.

1)You're totally correct that the IDF was sent in without a comprehensive plan by Olmert, his amateur defense minister Peretz and General Dan Halutz(Halutz an dperetz both resigned). Olmert, however, was under considerable pressure from the Bush Administration to defeat Hezbollah without overly damaging or involving the Siniora government, one of the products of
President's Bush's 'Arab Democracy' fetish. That was utterly impossible, since Hezbollah was a big part of the Lebanese government and had allies throughout the country's institutions, like the army.

That's why the IDF primarily fought the war as an air war
(Halutz was an air force general)and bogged the IDF's ground forces down to no purpose.

My point is that regardless of the war's mismanagement, the IDF's reserves had been called up, and they had finally been sent in properly under General Kaplinsky and reached the Litani River, cutting off Hezbollah's bases in South Lebanon from being resupplied except from the air...which the IAF controlled.

If not for the farcical ceasefire engineered by Condi Rice under poressure by the Arab League and the Saudis,(And yeah, I tend to believe Bolton on this one, based on whom we're talking about)Hezbollah would have been destroyed in South Lebanon. And if the Israelis had different leadership had continued pounding Hezbollah's bases in the Be'kaa Valley and only agreed to a ceasefiire if Hezbollah disarmed, things would be very different now.

And you're right...thanks to the gross mismanagement by the Olmert government, it will all have to be done again. Pity.

As for the US 'fighting for Lebanon' I agree, but please read the link..the Druse were merely asking for arms and ammo, which we could have given them.I suspect that we did not because of some back channel negotiations that are probably going on right now with Iran over Iraq and its nukes.

I totally agree with your remarks about the brilliant victory of our forces and the Iraqi army over Mookie's boys, and I've written about it here.

It amazes me how the dinosaur media refuses to report on this.



All Best,
ff

Ymarsakar said...

The brilliant State Department once again shows us the power of diplomacy without the nitty gritty "hard power" of the DoD.

This is the kind of victory you can get once you get rid of those mass murdering American soldiers causing all that violence.

Ymarsakar said...

I've commented here but it seems to not be showing up.

Ymarsakar said...

Got the thread incorrect, so disregard the last comment from here in the moderation queue.

I will say that the diplomats do seem to be trying to pull another Diem Assassination or Jimmy Carter on Shah of Iran here.