Oh, by the way, Lebanon is on the verge of imploding

posted at 6:04 pm on January 13, 2011 by Allahpundit

A hard dose of world news for you as we try to emerge from the “all Arizona, all the time” cycle.

Has there been a single day since this site started five years ago where the above headline couldn’t plausibly have been written? The cause of the impending collapse is, as usual, Hezbollah’s unease over the UN tribunal that’s been investigating its role in the assassination of former PM Rafiq Hariri for fully five years now. Rumors that Hezbollah itself, rather than Syria, will soon be indicted have been swirling for months; tensions between Lebanese Sunnis, which include the Hariri clan, and the Shiites who compose Hezbollah’s base are so high that Lebanon’s current prime minister — Rafiq Hariri’s son, Saad — has publicly considered asking the UN to cancel the tribunal for the good of the country. His choice, in other words, is either to risk a new civil war with Iran’s most lethal proxy army or to keep the peace by exonerating his own father’s murderers. It’s Greek tragedy in an Arab setting.

This is what the Cedar Revolution has come to.

Members of the powerful Hezbollah movement and its allies brought down Lebanon’s unity government Wednesday after resigning from Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Cabinet.

Minister of State Adnan Sayyed Hussein turned in his resignation along with 10 members of the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance, meaning that the threshold needed — 11 resignations from the 30-member Cabinet — to collapse the government had been reached.

Hariri was meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House as the political crisis erupted in Lebanon.

“The efforts by the Hezbollah-led coalition to collapse the Lebanese government only demonstrate their own fear and determination to block the government’s ability to conduct its business and advance the aspirations of all of the Lebanese people,” Obama said.

From Washington Hariri left for Paris, likely to sound out Sarkozy as to whether, as Richard Fernandez says, the west will provide any meaningful support if he confronts Hezbollah and war breaks out. A former deputy Mossad chief told reporters yesterday that he doesn’t expect a new civil war, that somehow the Saudis and Syria will strike some kind of bargain to keep the peace between the Sunnis and Hezbollah, but all that means in practice is Hezbollah taking over the country through slower, nonviolent, “political” means. In return for agreeing not to march on Beirut, Hezbollah will be appeased with some sort of official government denunciation of the Hariri tribunal’s findings as illegitimate plus, perhaps, an increase in its representation within the cabinet. They had 11 ministers as of yesterday; maybe, as part of a new extortion deal, they’ll get 15 for their trouble. Thus somehow does a murder indictment become political leverage for the murderers.

Given how much power Hezbollah has over the Lebanese state — remember this episode? — I’ve honestly never fully understood why they fear the indictments so much. Surely Lebanese citizens on all sides already suspect the group and its Syrian patron of Hariri’s murders. If formal indictments are issued, they’ll be blithely dismissed as an American/Zionist conspiracy to discredit a saintly political organization who, until recently, counted among its leaders one of the world’s most notorious terrorists. And then life will go on, with everyone grudgingly holding their tongues in order to avert a new war. The best explanation I can come up with is that Hezbollah’s using the tribunal mainly as a pretext to extract concessions — i.e. “if our legitimacy is questioned, we’ll have no choice but to defend ourselves … unless we’re mollified with more political power, of course.”

Obama has reportedly urged Hariri not to fold and to stand by the tribunal, although what that means in practice if Hezbollah decides to call his bluff, I have no idea. Presumably the White House will put heavy pressure on Syria to make Hezbollah stand down. What that pressure might involve — sticks or carrots? — I guess we’ll see in the next week or two. What could go wrong?


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Let it become a ‘Smouldering City on the Hill’. I’m sure Ronnie Dinnerjacket can work that into a speech somehow.

Limerick on January 13, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Yes, I’m sure that Obama will repeat his excellent, super-fantastic performance from last night and give great speech and make Lebanon all better.

Or so our Blood Libel Media will have us believe.

Aitch748 on January 13, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Muslim cleric and unrest in the Mideast. Kinda like peaches and cream, or carrots and peas.

Paul-Cincy on January 13, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Let them meltdown.

Tim Burton on January 13, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Yep, Lebanon’s teetering on the precipice again.

but instead let’s focus on Sarah Palin using the words “Blood Libel” incorrectly!!! (well, techinically correctly, but let’s not get all contradictory with the media!)

mjk on January 13, 2011 at 6:10 PM

It must be tough for President Obama… having to choose between taking the UN seriously and caving to Hezbollah.

myrenovations on January 13, 2011 at 6:10 PM

Didn’t Lebanon hear Obama’s Speech last night?

They have cable TV there, right?

portlandon on January 13, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Wholesale prices are up
Oil nearing $110 bbl
Unemployment highest in 10 weeks

Other things besides how and who is to blame for a nutso jackov killing 6 and wounding 14.

Now that Il Douche has made an appearance in AZ that story is going local only.

darwin-t on January 13, 2011 at 6:12 PM

I’m just glad we don’t have troops there… Can’t we just somehow sell the Middle East to China or something?

MeatHeadinCA on January 13, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Wasn’t Lebanon once the Paris of the Middle East before they let in wave after wave of Palestinians?

Canadian Infidel on January 13, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Thus somehow does a murder indictment become political leverage for the murderers.

Funny, that seems to be the same sort of twisted pretzel logic that has the Left indicting Sarah and the Tea Party.

nukemhill on January 13, 2011 at 6:14 PM

What that pressure might involve — sticks or carrots?

T-shirts!!

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on January 13, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Wasn’t Lebanon once the Paris of the Middle East before they let in wave after wave of Palestinians?

Canadian Infidel on January 13, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Right you are.

England is following the same path. We’ll be seeing them do the same swan dive in 15 years (or less)

portlandon on January 13, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Meanwhile, the left is busy going nuts over a crime Sarah Palin had nothing to do with and because she dared stick up for herself when she was slandered with that crime.

jawkneemusic on January 13, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Well, if Hezbollah takes over completely by whatever means, that leaves Israel staring down a gun barrel. Syria will roll over for the Shiites. Iran has more leverage with them than the U.S. or U.N. I’m sure glad Obama has retained the confidence of Israel that we will be supporting them. Is his approval rating above 5% over there now?

a capella on January 13, 2011 at 6:18 PM

“So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people – greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are.” T.E. Lawrence

Hening on January 13, 2011 at 6:19 PM

Meanwhile, the left is busy going nuts over a crime Sarah Palin had nothing to do with and because she dared stick up for herself when she was slandered with that crime.

jawkneemusic on January 13, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Sarah Palin injected herself into this Lebanon story, by being alive. She is making the media ignore Lebanon.

portlandon on January 13, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Only one thing in the Lebanon situation is certain, -the Bamster will fail to have any influence on the situation. Ditto Hillary. The best thing Bammie could do is ask Israel for guidance and then act accordingly. Odds that he does that, 0.

PS Obama and ‘sticks or carrots’? Please, that’s laughable.

slickwillie2001 on January 13, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Obama is the total carrot-top, but it’s carrots no matter what the outcome and never any sticks unless you are GOP.

clnurnberg on January 13, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Where’s the civility?!?

profitsbeard on January 13, 2011 at 6:27 PM

At least when our politicians get shot, we catch and punish the bad guys. In the ME, you are more likely to get a medal or something.

GnuBreed on January 13, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Hening on January 13, 2011 at 6:19 PM

Cool quote.

GnuBreed on January 13, 2011 at 6:29 PM

BREAKING: HAS ANOTHER CIVIL WAR IN LEBANON JUST BEGUN? MAYBE…

JPOST:

Grenade damages structure belonging to Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, north of Beirut, no injuries reported; attack comes after Nasrallah promises Hizbullah’s resignation from gov’t will not lead to civil war.

WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS? WHAT IS THE MESSAGE THEY ARE SENDING?

IT IS A THREAT. AND ONE WHICH MIGHT BE RETALIATED AGAINST.

SO I ASK, CUI BONO FROM ANOTHER CIVIL WAR: IRAN – WHO ALSO BENEFITED FROM HARIRI’S ASSASSINATION, IN THE FIRST PLACE.

WHICH LEADS ME TO ONCE AGAIN SAY:

THE ROAD TO PEACE IN BEIRUT RUNS THROUGH TEHRAN.

IOW: IF WE WANT PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, THEN WE HAVE TO ERADICATE THE ISLAMO-FASCIST REGIME IN IRAN.

THE SOONER THE BETTER.

MORE AT THE LINK…

reliapundit on January 13, 2011 at 6:29 PM

I vote “sticks” for Syria.

MikeHu on January 13, 2011 at 6:30 PM

I’m trying awfully hard to care.

Yes yes, I know there are geopolitical considerations, but how many times do we need to hear that a bunch of primeval jackoffs are on the verge of screwing yet another nation back into the stone age? It’s what they do in the middle east.

Bishop on January 13, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Hillary has already announced that there’s no difference between this and Tuscon.

It’s the tone of the vast right wing conspiracy behind it all.

the_nile on January 13, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Hariri was meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House as the political crisis erupted in Lebanon.

Were they talking golf? Anything else to really above BHO head.

Tommy_G on January 13, 2011 at 6:35 PM

I’m sure the Lebanese can’t wait to hear Barry tell them “No worries, I’ve got your back! Just like the Polish!”

GarandFan on January 13, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin.
/markos/sarc

andycanuck on January 13, 2011 at 7:05 PM

Oh, by the way, Lebanon is on the verge of imploding

Can’t find anyone who gives a rat’s patootie.

Mirimichi on January 13, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Can’t find anyone who gives a rat’s patootie.

Mirimichi on January 13, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Keith Ellison? Doesn’t he have some skin in the game?

a capella on January 13, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Alhamdilillah?

blatantblue on January 13, 2011 at 7:37 PM

I’ve reached the point where I feel that we need to get the troops home and let those nuts in the ME kill each other off like they’ve been doing since the beginning of time. I think we have enough problems in our own country, including a part of the left that we personally need to worry about. They’ve become more threatening and dangerous with time, and that now includes the Blood Libel Media. So my thoughts and worries are right here in our own country. Pardon me if I don’t give a crap.

silvernana on January 13, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Who cares which group gets the country.It is a bombed out sewer and will stay a bombed out sewer no matter who is in charge.What does that place even produce besides hate and death?

docflash on January 13, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Wasn’t that long ago Lebanon was a predominantly Christian nation.

huckleberryfriend on January 13, 2011 at 8:01 PM

If they implode will it be Arabs at each other’s throats?

Then have a grand ole time !

BowHuntingTexas on January 13, 2011 at 8:17 PM

Wasn’t that long ago Lebanon was a predominantly Christian nation.

huckleberryfriend on January 13, 2011 at 8:01 PM

biG, bIG, BIG difference between a middle eastern “christian” and a Western Christian.

Sirhan Sirhan was that nice “christian” who assassinated RFK.

He was also a Palestinian member of the PLO.

… not your typical Baptist neighbor down the street.

If they all go at each other’s throats, so be it.

BowHuntingTexas on January 13, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Keith Ellison? Doesn’t he have some skin in the game?

a capella on January 13, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Somalia…and if that place ever turns into a Islamist $hithole…oh, wait.

And then again…we’re talking about his constituency.

BigWyo on January 13, 2011 at 8:29 PM

*Eva voice*

Giving a d@mn…

Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-beeeep!

Error: process failed. D@mn not given.

Dark-Star on January 13, 2011 at 8:29 PM

Thus somehow does a murder indictment become political leverage for the murderers.

Why not – it worked for the IRA.

OldEnglish on January 13, 2011 at 8:41 PM

I am having a very difficult time dredging up at least a modicum of d@mn giving. I just… can’t. It’s too hard. I guess I’ll just go with my overwhelming initial feeling of: you cannot fathom the amount of f**k I do not give.

Honestly, the entire world would be much better off if a vast majority of the Middle East were a humongous glass parking lot anyways. Let ‘em scratch each others eyes out and do all the blood thirsty stone-aged savage things to themselves that they’d rather be doing to us anyways. Have at it.

FlatFoot on January 13, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Wait…do they have any oil?/

redwhiteblue on January 13, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Wait…do they have any oil?/

redwhiteblue on January 13, 2011 at 8:57 PM

If they do they’re gonna have to wait because we aren’t done stealing it from Iraq.

BigWyo on January 13, 2011 at 9:04 PM

In a perfect world we could just slam the door shut on that sand filled insane asylum and let the inmates butcher each other to their hearts’ content. In the world we live in however, there are two problems that keep us standing in the doorway; oil and Israel.
Thomas Jefferson once described the institution of slavery as “Like holding a wolf by the ears. You don’t much like it but you don’t dare let go.”. The Middle East is like that, and calling it a Sh#!hole is being way too polite!

Lew on January 13, 2011 at 9:05 PM

You know, I’ve heard that Beirut used to be the place to be in the Middle East.

What happened to turn it into such a basket case?

JohnGalt23 on January 13, 2011 at 9:57 PM

You know, I’ve heard that Beirut used to be the place to be in the Middle East.

What happened to turn it into such a basket case?

JohnGalt23 on January 13, 2011 at 9:57 PM

It used to be a wonderful place to live and was one of the few places where you could snow and water ski on the same day. The civil war, the invasion and occupation by Israel and Syria devastated the place. It has come back and many parts of Beirut are actually nice to hang out in again. I went there last year and had a nice time and it was so different than my earlier visits in the 80s.

lexhamfox on January 13, 2011 at 11:07 PM

Presumably the White House will put heavy pressure on Syria to make Hezbollah stand down. What that pressure might involve — sticks or carrots? — I guess we’ll see in the next week or two. What could go wrong?

Is the talk of a speech a threat or a promise. Dear Liar is way in over his head.

rbj on January 14, 2011 at 8:43 AM

So is my kids swingset. BFD.

johnnyU on January 14, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Why does oil price have to be the spiggot valve for our economy? Or is it only when Republicans are making a comeback do they have to choke us?

johnnyU on January 14, 2011 at 3:27 PM