Monday, August 13, 2007

Cry for Lebanon

Since last July’s month-long random and merciless Israeli bombardment, Lebanon has faced the very real threat of internal conquest by a ruthless, militant, and emboldened enemy. Hizballah has intentionally paralyzed Lebanon with the intent of overthrowing the current government, and claiming the throne for militant Islamic rule, courtesy of Iran and Syria. March 14th forces are holding on the best they can, but their grip is weakening. Unfortunately, Lebanon is far from any political solution, and faces a high threat of armed conflict, whether internal or external. On the other hand, Lebanon may get pulled into a regional conflict between Israel and Syria, because Syria will be sure to use Lebanon as a primary staging ground and will attack Israel from the Southern border, the Mediterranean, as well as the Golan. In fact, Syrian troops have already re-entered Lebanon and have fortified positions three kilometers inside Lebanese borders.

It's only a matter of time before internal violence increases given that Hizballah refuses to concede governmental control to properly elected officials and will not give up until they are in control. They also will never have a policy of peace with Israel, but will continually seek conflict once they achieve their goal of governmental control. The only way out of this debacle is open, deliberate, and armed intervention by a foreign power such as France, Germany, or the US, and I don't see that happening. Then there's the Palestinian problem with Fatah al Islam.......

The Lebanese Army, though enjoying wonderful and widespread public support, is weak - as we've seen from the past 2 or 3 months of fighting in Tripoli. This is a conflict that should have been easily completed within a week or two. The fact that it is still dragging on would be almost comical if it weren't for the sad fact that so many soldiers have been killed. Approximately two Lebanese soldiers have been killed for every one militant. That speaks volumes as to the Lebanese Army's knowledge of military doctrine and tactics, and of its ability to properly execute a military operation. They may be slowly winning, but certainly not in a decisive way, and then only because of superior numbers of soldiers available to replace the dead and injured, and open food, water, and ammunition supply routes. On the whole, however, they are being out fought and maneuvered hands down and could never effectively face an organized military force, Hizballah, or global civil unrest. Depending on them at this stage to maintain peace is not an educated or wise position. However, they are trying, and my heart certainly goes out to them. I am very proud of their efforts, but they seem to be little more than cannon fodder. I blame their training, leadership, and governmental support. Additionally, it is always easier to defend than to attack, and unfortunately they find themselves facing a hardened, well emplaced, and defensive enemy with ideal cover and concealment, while they are relegated to poorly emplaced positions that leave them open to sniper and mortar fire.

The social structure of Lebanon is fraying rapidly, and will continue to degenerate until all those who can leave do, and many already have, leaving Hizballah an open door to take over and place Lebanon under some form of militant Islamic law. The fact is that Hizballah has freedom of movement throughout the country, while the properly elected officials are limited to their heavily fortified homes with no freedom of mobility whatsoever. It is only a matter of time. Lebanon is under siege and will fall without aggressive external intervention, which, as we've seen, will not happen, at least not before violence erupts once again. I wish the US would get involved, but we can't given the despicable situation in Iraq, and the political turmoil we are facing within our own country on Capitol Hill.

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