Awful: Hezbollah wins veto power over Lebanese government decisions; Update: “A necessary and positive step,” says U.S.

posted at 2:32 pm on May 21, 2008 by Allahpundit

Not all negotiation is appeasement. But some is.

According to the terms of the deal, Hezbollah will be given 11 seats in a 30-member cabinet — enough to exercise an effective veto over government policies, as the group had demanded. Army leader Gen. Michael Suleiman will be installed as president, a step the parties had agreed to months ago but which had been delayed by the dispute over cabinet seats and other issues…

“We’ve won. We have got what we wanted,” said Ali Badran, a 47-year-old Hezbollah supporter who had joined a tent city erected in protest more than a year ago near the Lebanese parliament as the political crisis deepened. Though the protest encampment had dwindled to a symbolic few, it stood as a sign of Hezbollah’s support in the country’s large Shiite community.

“We were victorious over the American and Zionist project.”

So they were, although WaPo allows for the (unlikely) possibility that the U.S. and Saudi governments will queer the deal. This issue of cabinet ministers sounds mundane but go all the way back to this post from December 2006 about Hezbollah’s attempt to protect Syria by blocking government ratification of the Hariri tribunal and you’ll see why it’s so hugely significant. Without two-thirds approval, the cabinet can’t do anything — like, say, demand that Hezbollah finally disarm, just like that nice UN resolution asked them to. In fact, the summit that led to this capitulation was supposed to resolve the issue of Hezbollah’s weapons. The solution: The issue has been postponed indefinitely, although it doesn’t matter since any effort by the government to enforce a disarmament deal would simply be vetoed anyway. As Time puts it, “The new agreement broadly gives Hizballah what it wants: legitimacy as an armed state-within-a-state.” Even the new president the various factions agreed on, Michel Suleiman, is notorious for being soft on them.

Read Andrew Cochran’s post at the Counterterrorism Blog to grasp the enormity of all of it; as always with appeasement, the compromise was aimed at preserving peace but will lead inevitably to more war, not only between Hezbollah and an increasingly anxious Israel but between Lebanese Shiites and the increasingly anxious Sunnis, who’ll react to the sectarian threat on a national scale the same way Sunnis are reacting to it on a regional one. Exit quotation from Lebanese prime minister Fuad Siniora, via WaPo: “We should accept each other and hold dialogue to solve the problems. We want to live together and we will continue that. We have no other choice.” Wait and see.

Update: Look on the bright side. At this point, Obama can’t be any worse.


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Unless you’re a leftard appeasement is not your friend…how many more people must more die and suffer before some in the world learn this valuable lesson!

Liberty or Death on May 21, 2008 at 2:36 PM

must more die and suffer before some in the world learn this valuable lesson!

As many as it takes, their ultimate goal is the thinning of the worlds population after all.

TroubledMonkey on May 21, 2008 at 2:39 PM

To be honest they had the UN behind them.

jukin on May 21, 2008 at 2:41 PM

To be honest they had the UN behind them.

jukin on May 21, 2008 at 2:41 PM

and this means…??

dmann on May 21, 2008 at 2:43 PM

So would Obama negotiate with Hezb’allah? They are a leader in a government, after all. And Iran is involved so I’m thinking, yeah.

It’s hard to imagine that Beirut once was called the Paris of the Middle East, all fancy and beautiful. Now, not so much. This is what happens when you allow a bunch of terrorist thugs in your borders. And remember, Yassar Arafat was the one who started that up. Thanks, Yassar!!!

mjk on May 21, 2008 at 2:43 PM

Shame. Damn shame.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on May 21, 2008 at 2:44 PM

The United States’ top diplomat for the region, David Welch, nevertheless welcomed the agreement as “a necessary and positive step” that will let the country’s political process move forward, the Associated Press reported.

Well, ignoring Welch’s rubberstamp there for a moment, I’m not really sure what the other options are here. Didn’t Hezballah just demonstrate that they could take what they wanted by force, then use the agreement to legitimize it? I mean, that’s like accusing France of appeasement after the tanks rolled in Paris. The force is the problem, no? What am I missing?

“We must . . . pledge never to resort to arms to resolve our political differences,” Siniora said after the agreement was signed in Doha. “We should accept each other and hold dialogue to solve the problems. We want to live together and we will continue that. We have no other choice.”

If he isn’t willing to fight over it, what else can we do?

Spirit of 1776 on May 21, 2008 at 2:44 PM

Whoops, I mean, Yassar Arafat was the terrorist thug the Lebanese first let in their country in the 1960′s. That wasn’t as clear as I thought it was.

mjk on May 21, 2008 at 2:44 PM

Hezb’satan.

Akzed on May 21, 2008 at 2:47 PM

Great. Now let’s send more US arms to the Lebanese Army

danking70 on May 21, 2008 at 2:48 PM

“Democracy” comes to the Middle East!

Peace, in our time.

OhEssYouCowboys on May 21, 2008 at 2:53 PM

Power flows from the barrel of a gun

..


wisdom

rockhauler on May 21, 2008 at 2:54 PM

In a related story, death row inmates at San Quentin are given authority to pardon themselves.

fogw on May 21, 2008 at 2:54 PM

AP……Hezballah officials emboldened by their victory demanded that Israel withdraw to the pre 1948 borders. The UN and US state department were said to be considering the validity of this request and would reserve comment until the newly appointed Messiah, Barack Obama was consulted!

dmann on May 21, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Never was a prediction so easy for me as this one on May 10th

It’s over.

There’s no there in Lebanon. When the Prime Minister gives a speech after four days during which an armed group takes over a city terrorizing the residents and his first utterances are to apologize to the insurgents–it’s over.

I don’t care how many folks march up and down the town square today’s short speech says it all.

This from the government we supposedly support spoken by the Prime Minister today:

“Siniora: Did we have a problem with Hezbollah? Yes, we had a real problem with Hezbollah… Has the Lebanese government ever said it wanted to forcefully disarm Hezbollah? Never. Never. We have said that openly and before the international community.

Siniora: Is our problem with Hezbollah that we diverge on who the enemy is? Not at all, for Israel is our enemy and Syria was and will remain our sister… built on mutual respect.

Siniora: Did the government declare war on Hezbollah and think of targeting a sect? We did not and will not declare war on Hezbollah. We have all partners been in building the country and will remain. The problem is that Hezbollah decided what the fate and future of Lebanon will be.”

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=42085

Are they now officially part of the government? What happens now if they attack Israel?

patrick neid on May 21, 2008 at 2:55 PM

Lebanon is now officially a puppet state of Iran. If I were Israel, I would begin bombing immediately. Lebanon is now officially at war with Israel.

fleiter on May 21, 2008 at 2:58 PM

Israel’s withdrawal at the behest of the U.S government has led to a far stronger enemy poised on their border. Should Israel be attacked again, I am confident we will once again pressure them to stop, despite Bush’s stirring, utterly empty speech in the Knesset. The lesson remains unlearned.

joewm315 on May 21, 2008 at 2:59 PM

I wonder where the pope stands on this one. They condemned Israel for defending themselves against Hezbollah last year. It was Hezbollah who should have been condemned. The pope talked about the right to a ‘sovereign Lebanon’ in the visit with the president.

Will the Vatican have any problem with this news? Or is it only the Jews defending themselves that cause ‘outrage’ in the Vatican? I suspect the Vatican won’t have a problem with this development for some reason. Infallible indeed.

ThackerAgency on May 21, 2008 at 3:02 PM

Are they now officially part of the government? What happens now if they attack Israel?

patrick neid on May 21, 2008 at 2:55 PM

That means Lebanon has nowhere to hide. Before the takeover, they could claim noncombatant status. That, along with all the sectarian tension ensures some pretty hefty civilian death tolls down the road.

a capella on May 21, 2008 at 3:03 PM

Lebanon is now officially a puppet state of Iran. If I were Israel, I would begin bombing immediately. Lebanon is now officially at war with Israel.

fleiter on May 21, 2008 at 2:58 PM

Seriously, unless Israel acts soon, they will face more then just rockets from Hezbollah.

Thanks Olmert for creating this mess we are all in now.

Lance Murdock on May 21, 2008 at 3:04 PM

The unintended consequences of Middle Eastern democracy.

You NEVER should have let them (“Palestinians”) in Lebanon, never. Now you have to face the consequences. Let this be a lesson to America, such is the fate of all countries that allow Islam to flourish. Europeans that understand the threat they are under from Islamization have to shudder at these events.

Theworldisnotenough on May 21, 2008 at 3:09 PM

Damn.

tree hugging sister on May 21, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Lebanon is now officially a puppet state of IranSyria, itself a puppet state of Iran.

Lebanon’s western allies (France in particular), and the other Arab states may not allow this to stand.

Thinking out loud, and not to minimize the danger, but it does ally the Europeans, the Arabs, the US and Israel. It has a certain similarity, perhaps, to the 1st Gulf War after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

JiangxiDad on May 21, 2008 at 3:14 PM

Michael Totten visits and blogs about Lebanon a lot. He has a few pieces up now with his views.

JiangxiDad on May 21, 2008 at 3:18 PM

ThackerAgency apparently doesn’t understand the Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility. Also, he either cannot or will not distinguish between the Magisterium acting qua Magisterium and human members of the curia acting as the (largely Euro-) leftists they are. Finally, to complete his unholy trinity of a post, he doesn’t have the sack to come out and accuse the Catholic Church of antisemitism, but that doesn’t stop him from insinuating this. Get help for your emotional issues and keep the anti-Catholic sniping (this is not your first offense) out of these combox threads.

boko fittleworth on May 21, 2008 at 3:22 PM

Thanks Olmert for creating this mess we are all in now.

Not dismissing what a terrible PM Olmert is, but darling, this is the consequence of things that happened WAY before Olmert.

I suggest you give credit where credit is due. The Lebanese for inviting these thugs in. The UN for twiddling their thumbs. The Syrians and Iranians for sticking their noses in other country’s business.

Or just blame the Israelis again. Whatevs.

mjk on May 21, 2008 at 3:22 PM

JiangxiDad on May 21, 2008 at 3:18 PM

Thanks a lot!

His conclusion: “Nasrallah can bully the Lebanese government and render it effectively obsolete, at least on foreign policy questions, but he cannot conquer and administer the entire country himself. Unless the Syrian military returns in full force, Lebanon’s future will not be one of dictatorship. Its future most likely will resemble its past–a grim stalemate of schism and internal war.”

Spirit of 1776 on May 21, 2008 at 3:27 PM

Spirit of 1776 on May 21, 2008 at 3:27 PM

I hadn’t found the money quote yet. Thanks for that. (He’s on his way back to Beirut apparently.)

JiangxiDad on May 21, 2008 at 3:29 PM

And people wonder why there is so much war in Lebanon. When your government lacks the manhood to defend its own existence (from enemies foreign and domestic), you freedoms slowly begin to diminish.

Lebanon is on its own as far as I’m concerned. It looks like Iraq, Israel and Turkey are the lone bastions of freedom.

Darnell Clayton on May 21, 2008 at 3:31 PM

Power flows from the barrel of a gun
..
wisdom

rockhauler on May 21, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Unfortunately, Hezbolla has most of the guns. Even if they couldn’t take the country outright, they could easily start another very bloody civil war.

Hollowpoint on May 21, 2008 at 3:38 PM

Concession and appeasement are the essence of terrorism, its very lifeblood. Terrorism is pointless without the possibility that its victims will make concessions to the terrorist. It’s an inexpensive way for an outnumbered group to enforce tyrannical control, and any concession made to the terrorist is a victory for him, since his only leverage is his willingness to commit pointless acts of cowardly murder on random targets. Why do all the hard work of a civilized nation-state when you can get what you want by murdering civilians? It’s the same calculation that drives domestic criminals: it’s so much easier to hold up a liquor store than to get a job running one. The slightest negotiation with terrorists validates their methods and guarantees more terrorism. Unfortunately, the civilized world hasn’t come up with a unified response to this savagery – Hezbollah will never have any shortage of patrons willing to grant it legitimacy. Wars of national conquest were the challenge the West faced and defeated in the last century. This is our challenge for the new one.

Doctor Zero on May 21, 2008 at 3:48 PM

“Political power grows from the barrel of a gun.”
– Mao Tse-Dung, Little Red Book

mojo on May 21, 2008 at 3:57 PM

Hollowpoint on May 21, 2008 at 3:38 PM

RE: hezbollah has the guns

zacktly right. Lesson: don’t let anyone take your right of self defense away, nor intimidate you from exercising it.

rockhauler on May 21, 2008 at 4:02 PM

boko fittleworth on May 21, 2008 at 3:22 PM

the infallible thing was tongue in cheek. I HOPE the Vatican does come out against this because as they told Bush, they support a ‘sovereign Lebanon’. They haven’t historically cared unless it involved Israel. They just don’t support Israel defending themselves. Must I support that assertion with links?

How is pointing out facts about the international attitudes of the Vatican ‘anti-Catholic’. Israel could have defeated Hezbollah and wiped this out. Nobody was more fiercely critical of Israel during that time than the Vatican. That’s a fact.

But of course, I’m anti-Catholic for pointing that out. The Vatican isn’t ever wrong – though the infallibility thing doesn’t apply – they aren’t wrong. . . they CAN’T BE.

Let me guess, you ARE Catholic and I offended you, right? Too bad I offended you with the facts of what happened. I hope the Vatican issues as many criticisms about this that were just as loud concerning Lebanon that they did just last year. I’m not holding my breath though.

I know I know, I’m anti-Catholic bigot for pointing it out – even though it has nothing to do with how I treat Catholic people and the Vatican’s position here is outside of the realm of what the Christian Church is supposed to do. But you aren’t above criticizing non-Catholic Christians for going beyond the scope of their positions within the church. That doesn’t make you a bigot by your definition, does it?

ThackerAgency on May 21, 2008 at 4:03 PM

In a related story, death row inmates at San Quentin are given authority to pardon themselves.

fogw on May 21, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Heh, perfect analogy!

Liberty or Death on May 21, 2008 at 4:23 PM

Doctor Zero on May 21, 2008 at 3:48 PM

Very well stated, I just wish more of our leaders would come to the same realization!

Liberty or Death on May 21, 2008 at 4:25 PM

got my popcorn,
got my drink,
I hear this’ll be a good show.

RMC1618 on May 21, 2008 at 4:38 PM

There is a writer I know who is an anti-semite. He writes about bad things that Jews, both individually and in groups, have done. (Eg- These named Jews push porn; these named Jews undermine the Constitution.) What he writes is, as far as I can tell (and he has copious footnotes), absolutely true, and he points this out to defend himself against charges of anti-Semitism. What makes him an anti-semite is not that he makes up bad things about Jews — he’s not making anything up. What makes him an anti-Semite is that he focuses exclusively on bad things done by Jews, to the exclusion of similar bad things done by non-Jews and of good things done by Jews.
.
You’ve apparently got a bee in your bonnet over “Vatican” statements about Lebanon, Hezbollah, and Israel. (I recognize that “Vatican” is a convenient metonymy for all the different officials of different ranks and influence speaking sometimes their own behalf, sometimes on behalf of their department.) I’d probably agree with you about the specific statements you have in mind. No one winces harder or more often over “Vatican” remarks than does a faithful son of the Church.
.
So even though I agree with your point, I take issue with the fact that your first response to a post about Hezbollah in Lebanon is not “poor Lebanon” or “damn Hezbollah” or “damn Syria/Iran”, but rather musings about the pope and the Vatican followed quickly by a coy question insinuating that anti-semitism is the driving force behind the deficiencies in Catholic responses to this situation.
.
This is the second Lebanon post I’ve read where you rushed in to introduce and badmouth the Vatican. I don’t know if that makes you a bigot or merely a one-issue bore, but I can’t stand either.

boko fittleworth on May 21, 2008 at 4:42 PM

For those of you not following this at home (O, how I envy you!), my above comment is addressed to ThackerAgency.

boko fittleworth on May 21, 2008 at 4:43 PM

If only there was a pro-western revolution in Iran. It wouldn`t solve all our problems, but would be a serious blow.

Yes, I know, wishful thinking.

ThePrez on May 21, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Just wait! Barack will solve this…….

ultracon on May 21, 2008 at 6:10 PM

Well, George Bush initiated the Shia revival with his various Mideast policies, so here it be on display in Lebanon. Let’s have some more democratic elections in the Middle East… there must be some more Islamist governments that can ascend in to power.

Mister Ghost on May 21, 2008 at 6:20 PM

I think our (US Government) relative silence and seeming acquiescence here is telling, something is up. By all accounts our side has lost this one without us doing much about it. The Druze were sure we would help them in the Chouf while the M14 collapsed completely.

Call it intuition but the behind the scenes on this is probably linked in some way to our grand strategy vis a vis Iran.

whatever we hear in the MSM is nothing compared to what is going on in reality. Everyone is preparing for war.

elduende on May 21, 2008 at 6:24 PM

got my popcorn,
got my drink,
I hear this’ll be a good show.

RMC1618 on May 21, 2008 at 4:38 PM

There will be very little good about this “show”, I fear.

Another step forward for the jihadis.

Another step backwards for civilization.

hillbillyjim on May 21, 2008 at 6:51 PM

…I suspect the Vatican won’t have a problem with this development for some reason. Infallible indeed.

ThackerAgency on May 21, 2008 at 3:02 PM

Thacker, have we heard from the Vatican on this or are you just channelling Bob Jones again?

Zorro on May 21, 2008 at 8:37 PM

By the way, well said boko. That sort of drivel is not new around here.

Zorro on May 21, 2008 at 8:44 PM

Look on the bright side. At this point, Obama can’t be any worse.

Eeyore

That obvious is not the lesson, here. The lesson is “Dear God, how much worse would our foreign policy be with a dickhead like Obama running it?!”

That’s the lesson.

In the meanwhile, can we not elect a President who will rein in our pathetic European State Department? Bolton for President…

Jaibones on May 21, 2008 at 10:24 PM