Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Lebanon heats up...

The Hezbollah attempt to take over Lebanon is ramping up.

Today, there were two bus bombings that killed at least 12 people and severely injured 20 others at the Ain Aleq village east of Beirut just days before a scheduled anti-Hezbollah mass rally marking the second anniversary of ex-prime Minister Hariri's assassination.

The bombs ripped through buses carrying workers through Ain Aleq, the ancestral village of the Christian Gemayel clan, one of who's members, anti-Syrian cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel was murdered last year. Lebanese security sources report the attack was carried out by two suicide bombers.

Ain Alaq is just south of Bikfaya and 12 miles northwest of Beirut.

This was undoubtedly a message to anti-Hezbollah and anti-Syrian forces.

The planned rally was in support of an international tribunal that was established to investigate and try the assassins of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri exactly two years ago. The suspects include high Syrian officials close to president Bashar Assad.

The Lebanese government has been paralyzed since a walkout by six pro-Syrian ministers last November...and Hezbollah and pro Syrian elements in the country have blocked roads and held the country under virtual siege ever since.

To complicate things, bot pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud and parliament speaker Nabih Berri regard the anti-Syria cabinet of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora as `unconstitutional' and have refused to act on its decisions. People forget that the only reason President Lahoud is in office is because of the arm twisting that Syria did when it forced the parliament to renew his term by 3 additional years. This is why many Lebanese consider Lahoud's presidency illegitimate.

Meanwhile, Russia, Syria and Iran continue to beef up Hezbollah's military arsenal.

The latest addition is a bevy of Russian-made SA-18 "Grouse" Igla 9K38 anti-air missiles.

The Russians originally sold them to Syria with personal guarantees by Russian President Putin to both Condi Rice and Israel's PM Olmert that the shoulder-carried missiles would not be resold or given to Hezbollah.

The Grouse is a surface-air heat-seeking missile especially designed to shoot down low-flying planes and helicopters. No doubt some of them will also find their way into Iraq via Iran for use against US forces.


Harrison said...

This article at The Daily Star caught my attention, but more ominously, it was the last sentence of that piece that spelt potential trouble:

Asked whether talks in Mecca were being planned like those which united Hamas and Fatah, Siniora said he was aware of no such move.

Everything should be done to discourage Saniora from ever considering pulling the Saudis in as mediators between the government and Hezbollah, because nothing good will come out of it. The Saudis would feel the need for geopolitical equilibrium to be established right after it basically handed Palestine over to Hamas (which is pro-Iranian), and it has probably calculated that an anti-Iranian regime in Lebanon would more than offset pro-Iranian factions in Syria and Palestine, so it would not be surprising if the sheikhs jumped at the chance to intervene in Lebanon.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Harrison!
Actually,while Hamas is indeed pro-Iranian, let's not forget that they are also Sunni and an offshoot of the Muslim brotherhood as well as Arabs (as opposed to Persians)

The Mecca deal was, essentially, the Saudis bidding for Hamas' loyalty and shoring up their credentials on the Arab street as leaders of the jihad aginst Israel and the West, IMO.

Lebanon,which has a large Shiite population and much more involvement with Iran and Syria (the Alawites that rule Syria are a Shiite branch)than Hamas will be another story.