Michael Young, opinion editor of Beirut’s Daily Star, has written that Syria and Iran are actively attempting to destabilise Lebanon and a coup against the US-friendly government may be imminent:
For Syria and Iran, as well as for Hizbullah, Resolution 1701 is the door through which the international community entered Lebanon in force, after Resolution 1559 and the Hariri tribunal. That’s the reason Tehran and Damascus want to render UNIFIL powerless, even though there will remain useful idiots in Europe who think they can reach an understanding with the Syrian regime to protect UN forces. Syria has no interest in this, however, because it has likely taken a strategic decision with Iran to remove any vestige of international influence in Lebanon – as it did in Gaza – with the goal of reviving its domination over the country.
Young’s interpretation is but one of many currently being circulated in the region (and he seems to ignore the vast amount of support for Hizbollah which exists in Lebanon).
Today I spoke to a Syrian political analyst who told me that he expected another round of war between Israel and Hizbollah by year’s end – essentially a proxy battle between the US and Syria and Iran – and only after the result of that conflict is known would the US dare to strike Iran.
Israel is seriously weakened by the 2006 Lebanon conflict and Ehud Olmert may be looking for a way to “enhance” his credibility. Their loss last year displeased Washington and they will be pushing Israel to have another go at destroying Hizbollah. It will fail, of course, just like the Western attempts to crush Hamas. There is a fundamental mis-understanding in the West that these groups are terrorist organisations. They are not. They have become legitimate political entities, and cannot be eliminated.
Facing such facts is clearly beyond the realm of most Western journalists – this story in today’s Australian newspaper is a case in point – and they will simply continue to mouth platitudes from Washington and London. Political Islam is here to stay, is growing in power and must be both respected and negotiated with. Western powers don’t need to accept all their methods, but they speak for many Arabs.