My son Daniel did a combat tour of Fallujah in 2007, but his other deployment with the Marine Corps was a MEU to the Gulf of Aden and Persian Gulf (which both he and I think is a horrible way to throw away money if we're never going to use the Marine Corps for anything on these MEUs except for humanitarian missions - but that's another topic). As the pre-deployment workup for this MEU, the Battalion underwent extensive training in evidence collection protocol and procedures. At the time I [read more]
Iranian flag displayed on equipment used to build a new road through southern Lebanon mountains with money from Iran.
Abu Muqawama had a post a few days ago entitled the resistance as oppressor, saying in part:
In the eyes of many Lebanese, the resistance is now an occupying power. How will Hizbollah — which has in the past divided the world into the oppressors and the oppressed — adjust to the ugly new reality where they are seen as the former?
To which The Captain’s Journal responded (in the comments) that Hezbollah has always been an occupying force. But let’s back up a bit.
As the reader knows by now, Hezbollah flexed their muscle in Lebanon a few days back with the Lebanese Army basically watching events without responding. Walid Phares argues (persuasively) that the mini-war was fought over a closed circuit telecommunications system and whether they would be allowed to have such a thing (since it violates the law). Well, not only can they have it, but now they have been given essential veto power over all government decisions.
Abu Muqawama referred to Hezbollah as at one time a “resistance” force, wondering how they would transition to a new role. John Robb – who is also smart and always an interesting read – does essentially the same thing.
May’s dispute between the Lebanese government and Hezbollah is an interesting example of the contest between hollow states and virtual states over legitimacy and sovereignty. As in most conflicts between gutted nation-states and aggressive virtual states, Hezbollah’s organic legitimacy trumped the state’s in the contest (an interesting contrast between voluntary affiliation and default affiliation by geography). The fighting was over in six hours.
Catch that? “Organic legitimacy.” Nice phrase, and it sounds erudite to boot. The only problem is that this is as wrongheaded as it can possibly be. W. Thomas Smith gives us another view of things in his most recent article at Human Events, entitled Lights Out Temporarily in Lebanon.
The proverbial lights have gone out in Lebanon: But for those of us having faith in that country’s swelling pro-democracy majority, the lights will only be out temporarily.
For now, however, it’s dark: In the wake of last week’s shameful concessions to the terrorist group, Hizballah, on the part of the Lebanese government and the legitimate army — which barely fired a shot in defense of the Lebanese people — Hizballah has achieved a never-before-realized strengthening of its position in that country.
This upper hand was achieved by force and against the will of most of the Lebanese people: Christians, Druze, and yes, Muslims, both Sunni and many Shiia. What makes it worse is that the international community — which has been warned time-and-again, heard appeals for assistance from various pro-democracy groups, and vowed to support the government, the army, and the will of the majority – did nothing to prevent Hizballah’s thugs from attacking the state and winning.
Let’s boil it down: Hizballah — trained and financed by Iran and operationally supported by Syria — contends it is a legitimate “resistance” against foreign aggression. The group also considers itself to be a fair and viable Shiia political party (it does indeed hold seats in the parliament), and a social movement providing services to Lebanon’s Shiia population (but no one receives social services without pledges of allegiance and promises of service to Hizballah.). In reality, Hizballah is a heavily weaponized, Talibanesque army of terrorists with tremendous global reach and existing as a sub-kingdom within the sovereign state of Lebanon.
Hizballah was ordered into action nearly two weeks ago after the state dismissed the security chief of Beirut International Airport (after discovering he was Hizballah), and attempted to shut down Hizballah’s extensive telecommunications system.
Refusing to accept the government’s decisions, Hizballah launched a series of attacks, May 7, from its stronghold in Beirut’s Dahiyeh, as well as from other so-called “security squares” across the country which the legitimate army and police had previously deemed off-limits to national policing.
Deploying from Dahiyeh, Hizballah fighters retrieved pre-staged weapons and quickly seized most of largely Sunni west Beirut (The group wisely avoided the Christian areas of east Beirut.). Fighting also broke out in the Chouf mountain region — where in several clashes, Hizballah’s forces were mauled by pro-government civilian fighters — the Bekaa Valley, and in-and-near the northern city of Tripoli.
Several of my sources have since independently confirmed that many captured and killed soldiers operating with Hizballah were indeed Syrian and Iranian: One source confirmed many of the captured soldiers “spoke Farsi and were unable to speak Arabic.” Another said Hizballah fighters operating in Beirut were “specifically ordered” not to communicate in the presence of Lebanese civilians because it would be discovered they were foreign (Iranian) soldiers.
“Syrian intelligence officers never quit Lebanon [after Syrian troops were officially kicked out in 2005],” Sami Nader, a political science professor at St. Joseph University in Beirut, tells HUMAN EVENTS. “And all the security and military apparatus put in place is an integrated system equipped and managed by the Iranians.”
Farsi. The Persian language. Hezbollah was never a resistance movement. To be sure, they funded medical care and other necessities, but only for a price. Their price was absolute loyalty. Hezbollah is nothing more than troops of Iranian occupation. They always have been foreign occupiers, and as long as they exist, they always will be. They have no organic legitimacy, no matter how sophisticated it sounds to say so.