The ultimate irony

While the Siniora government is experiencing a huge dose of unintended consequences, an unlikely ally is rallying to their cause.

The Shiite Hizbullah has so far backed Lebanon’s army in its confrontation with a Fatah Islam, a Sunni militant group inside a refugee camp – despite the fact that Hizbullah has been pushing to topple Lebanon’s government.

“We feel that there is someone out there who wants to drag the army to this confrontation and bloody struggle … To serve well-known projects and aims. We are hearing calls for more escalation and fighting, which will ultimately lead to more chaos and confrontation in Lebanon,” the Hizbullah statement said. It called for a political solution to the crisis.

All this talk of political solutions has terrorism written all over it.

What is most remarkable is that, as Hersh wrote in his piece back in March, Nasrallah has been fully aware of the Lebanese government backing these groups and that he was in their cross hairs.

I got a preview of how the Administration’s new strategy might play out in Lebanon. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, who has been in hiding, had agreed to an interview. Security arrangements for the meeting were secretive and elaborate. I was driven, in the back seat of a darkened car, to a damaged underground garage somewhere in Beirut, searched with a handheld scanner, placed in a second car to be driven to yet another bomb-scarred underground garage, and transferred again. Last summer, it was reported that Israel was trying to kill Nasrallah, but the extraordinary precautions were not due only to that threat. Nasrallah’s aides told me that they believe he is a prime target of fellow-Arabs, primarily Jordanian intelligence operatives, as well as Sunni jihadists who they believe are affiliated with Al Qaeda.

In spite of the fact that the Siniora government aided and abetted groups wanting to assassinate Nasrallah, he and his followers have demonstrated remarkable discipline and commitment to maintaining peace in Lebanon. It makes you wonder who the real statesmen are.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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