Endgame: Syrian stooge becomes new Lebanese PM, completing Hezbollah takeover

posted at 4:54 pm on January 25, 2011 by Allahpundit

Thus ends the Cedar Revolution, not quite two weeks after Hezbollah’s ministers brought down the government with an eye to forcing this outcome. The new PM, Najib Miqati, isn’t a member of Hezbollah himself, but realistically he couldn’t be: In Lebanon, the premiership is reserved for Sunnis as part of the country’s sectarian power-sharing agreement. Miqati is their designated Sunni stooge, whose first official act will no doubt be to withdraw Lebanon’s approval from the UN tribunal that’s about to indict Hezbollah and Iran’s supreme leader for the assassination of Rafiq Hariri. This is, in other words, a bloodless coup, aimed at using the evaporating legitimacy of the Lebanese government to formally discredit the findings of the tribunal before the indictments are unsealed. In practice, it’ll presumably achieve the opposite result: Any Sunnis in Lebanon and in the wider region who were disinclined to believe the tribunal in the name of Islamic solidarity with Hezbollah will now have their attention turned to the Shiite takeover of Beirut. Which is why I’ve never fully understood this strategy, but oh well:

After days of political wrangling, the candidate supported by Hezbollah and its allies, Najib Miqati, a billionaire and former prime minister, won 68 seats in Lebanon’s 128-member parliament, enough to name the next government in a country as divided as it is diverse. His elevation was a clear victory for Hezbollah, which has ruled out Mr. Hariri’s return to power, and was the culmination of what was already accepted as a fact of life here: that Hezbollah is the country’s pre-eminent military and political force.

So far, the crisis has played out according to the rules of Lebanon’s parliamentary system, and both Mr. Miqati and Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, went to great lengths to offer a conciliatory message and portray Mr. Miqati as a consensus choice…

“What has happened is virtually a coup d’état, a political coup d’état,” [former PM Saad] Hariri said at his house in downtown Beirut, near the seat of government that he and his team left only days before. “Me and my allies, we will represent the opposition.”…

Hezbollah has seemed to view the tribunal as an almost existential threat, and in his speech Tuesday, Mr. Nasrallah suggested that the issue had forced its hand.

Follow the first link up top and read the piece in full for reports of furious Lebanese Sunnis already out in the streets in Beirut and Tripoli in a “day of rage.” And lest you doubt Hariri’s description of this as a coup, which implies backing by force, note that today’s parliamentary vote was preceded by funny little demonstrations by Hezbollah like … having their operatives suddenly and mysteriously show up all over Beirut with walkie talkies, as if some major operation was about to unfold. So freaked out were Lebanese parents at that display that many drove to their kids’ schools and yanked them out of class for fear of war suddenly erupting. That was the public side of intimidation; the private side apparently involved threatening Lebanese factional leaders with god knows what to get them to support the new government. Case in point: Walid Jumblatt, the leader of Lebanon’s Druze community and historically a withering critic of Assad and Syria, shockingly decided last week to side with Hezbollah in its standoff with Saad Hariri and the Sunnis. The most plausible explanation, as Michael Totten notes, was that Jumblatt feared the Druze would be steamrolled if he opposed Hezbollah and they responded by taking Beirut by force.

All that said, I’m actually of two minds about all this. The prospect of a new civil war is horrible, needless to say, but thanks to weak government leadership and an even weaker national military, Hezbollah has effectively owned Lebanon for years. Electing Miqati clarifies things by finally putting their name on the deed. This won’t deter the UN tribunal either: Granted, Lebanon will withdraw its support and denounce the indictments, but Time expects that the UN Security Council will simply amend the tribunal’s charter so that Lebanese consent is no longer required for it to proceed. Above all, and to add to a point I made earlier, having Hezbollah and its patrons in Tehran in direct confrontation with the Sunnis could be a useful way to galvanize wider popular opposition to Iran within the region. Hezbollah typically enjoys major support among Sunni Arabs because it’s the biggest terrorist thorn in Israel’s side, but that sectarian crossover appeal won’t hold up so long as it’s targeting Beirut and Tripoli instead of Tel Aviv. In fact, at the moment Lebanon feels like a microcosm of relations between Iran and the region’s Sunni governments: Pan-Arab worries about Shiite expansionism trump pan-Islamic worries about Israeli “occupation.” Another clarifying aspect on a horrible day.


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So Obama lost another friend of the USA. If any jewish person votes for Obama they are signing away their holy land. but then again the GOp leadership isn’t much better.

unseen on January 25, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Jimmy Carter Part 2: The Reckoning

portlandon on January 25, 2011 at 4:59 PM

From the Paris of the mideast to just another shiithole. You dug your hole, now lay in it.

Bishop on January 25, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Just. Wonderful.
///

annoyinglittletwerp on January 25, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Butbutbut… Sheila Jackson Lee condemned Hezbollah’s actions! How can this still be happening?

rihar on January 25, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Who cares about a little thing like this? There are more important things like which Senator is going to sit with each other and what is Michelle going to wear…….

sandee on January 25, 2011 at 5:01 PM

If only the jews hadn’t built that Quizno’s over in the old town. We could have avoided this people!!!

abobo on January 25, 2011 at 5:01 PM

sandee on January 25, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Good point. Is Joan Rivers working the Red Carpet tonight?

rihar on January 25, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Thus ends the Cedar Revolution

Bushies hardest hit?

MeatHeadinCA on January 25, 2011 at 5:03 PM

From the Paris of the mideast to just another shiithole. You dug your hole, now lay in it.

Bishop on January 25, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Nawww… I’m sure we’ll just throw some money at this

MeatHeadinCA on January 25, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Good point. Is Joan Rivers working the Red Carpet tonight?

rihar on January 25, 2011 at 5:02 PM

I don’t know maybe E-online will tell us which was the best dressed and the worst dressed?

sandee on January 25, 2011 at 5:04 PM

So how much money are we sending to Lebanon this year. Can we put a stop payment on the check?

Oil Can on January 25, 2011 at 5:04 PM

So nothing new, nothing surprising, nothing unexpected. Everything went according to plan.

Skandia Recluse on January 25, 2011 at 5:05 PM

So,really,Lebanon is Little Iran!!!!

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:05 PM

“Another clarifying aspect on a horrible day.”

Does this mean “Prom Night” is canceled…?

Seven Percent Solution on January 25, 2011 at 5:07 PM

So,really,Lebanon is Little Iran!!!!

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:05 PM

They’re all just starting to blur together…

MeatHeadinCA on January 25, 2011 at 5:08 PM

But seriously, anybody expecting a different outcome of democracy movement around the world, after Obama’s ‘robust discussion’ about the Iranian and did nothing after they shot dead Needa?

Sir Napsalot on January 25, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Neda Soltan, ooops spelling wrong. My bad.

Sir Napsalot on January 25, 2011 at 5:11 PM

and to add to a point I made earlier, having Hezbollah and its patrons in Tehran in direct confrontation with the Sunnis could be a useful way to galvanize wider popular opposition to Iran within the region. Hezbollah typically enjoys major support among Sunni Arabs because it’s the biggest terrorist thorn in Israel’s side, but that sectarian crossover appeal won’t hold up so long as it’s targeting Beirut and Tripoli instead of Tel Aviv.

Probably too late for that. If Hezbollah knows how to do anything, it is intimidate. Plus, Sunnis would have to hate Shiites more than both groups do the Jews. It’s all in he DNA.

a capella on January 25, 2011 at 5:13 PM

So,really,Lebanon is Little Iran!!!!

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:05 PM

No, it is Baby Syria, who is, in turn, Little Iran.

a capella on January 25, 2011 at 5:15 PM

In Gaza, the real enemy is Iran
Israeli attacks must not stop until Iran’s proxy, Hamas, is defeated.
============

January 4, 2009

Reporting from Jerusalem — The images from the fighting in Gaza are harrowing but ultimately deceptive. They portray a mighty invading army, one equipped with F-16 jets that have bombed a civilian population defended by a few thousand fighters armed with primitive rockets. But widen the lens and the true nature of this conflict emerges. Hamas, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, is a proxy for the real enemy Israel is confronting: Iran. And Israel’s current operation against Hamas represents a unique chance to deal a strategic blow to Iranian expansionism.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-halevi4-2009jan04,0,1975444.story
====================================

Monday, January 24, 2011
Nakbahteers!

Everybody knows about the Nakbah – essentially a land grab by Little Satan’s neighboring nation states that went horribly wrong – granting Little Satan even more real estate!

http://greatsatansgirlfriend.blogspot.com/2011/01/nakbahteers.html

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:15 PM

I hate the sound of the word Hezbollah. It just makes my skin crawl.

Blake on January 25, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Don’t worry about it….obama’s pants are creased so nicely for his big speech…..
Seriously…just submit.

HornetSting on January 25, 2011 at 5:17 PM

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:05 PM
==============

No, it is Baby Syria, who is, in turn, Little Iran.

a capella on January 25, 2011 at 5:15 PM

a capella:Yes,more accurately so,Baby Sh*tRia!!:)

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Don’t worry about it….obama’s pants are creased so nicely for his big speech…..
Seriously…just submit.

HornetSting on January 25, 2011 at 5:17 PM

HornetSting:Hows about,a Nuclear Re-Set Button!!:)

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Looks like HotAir will have to set aside a few Polls, bunting and balloon posts to make room for all the Mid East Djinns escaping their bottles as their dictatorial corks are pulled.

Egypts cork in waiting has fled the country today and they have a fresh crop of martyrs too.

BL@KBIRD on January 25, 2011 at 5:19 PM

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:05 PM
========
They’re all just starting to blur together…

MeatHeadinCA on January 25, 2011 at 5:08 PM

MeatHeadinCA:Yup,for Team Obama,Mission Accomplished!:)

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Egypts cork in waiting has fled the country today and they have a fresh crop of martyrs too.

BL@KBIRD on January 25, 2011 at 5:19 PM

BIG Time news. Thank you. There shouldn’t be any question as to who is waiting in the wings to fill the vacuum.

a capella on January 25, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Their country, their bag of worms. If you can’t tell the bully to frak-off don’t ask me to.

Limerick on January 25, 2011 at 5:21 PM

My daughters best friend is there and has been trying to come home for about a week. Not sure what the problem is but we are very concerned for her and her family.

She’s been communicating over the net but hasn’t explained the delay in coming home. God please help her get out of there.

roux on January 25, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Protests are rare in Egypt, where Mubarak tolerates little dissent.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday Washington believed the Egyptian government was stable and urged restraint on both sides.

Well, that makes me feel better.

a capella on January 25, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Don’t worry about it….obama’s pants are creased so nicely for his big speech…..
Seriously…just submit.

HornetSting on January 25, 2011 at 5:17 PM

HornetSting:Hows about,a Nuclear Re-Set Button!!:)

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:18 PM

We have a president that cannot multi-task, unless he is destroying the country. His laser like focus on jobs shows he can’t even complete ONE task…is it 2012 yet?

HornetSting on January 25, 2011 at 5:25 PM

roux on January 25, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Are the airports closed down?

a capella on January 25, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Does this mean “Prom Night” is canceled…?
Seven Percent Solution on January 25, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Are you crazy, do you have any idea how much it costs to rent a tux complete with cane and top hat?

Bishop on January 25, 2011 at 5:31 PM

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:18 PM
=====================
We have a president that cannot multi-task, unless he is destroying the country. His laser like focus on jobs shows he can’t even complete ONE task…is it 2012 yet?

HornetSting on January 25, 2011 at 5:25 PM

HornetSting:Oh ya,jobs alright,tonite….Obama will be,

`’SHOVEL-READY’!!!:)

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:31 PM

I hate the sound of the word Hezbollah. It just makes my skin crawl.
Blake on January 25, 2011 at 5:15 PM

And I hate pictures of black-shrouded women gathering in mobs. Gives me the heebie jeebies.

roux on January 25, 2011 at 5:23 PM

How frightening. Have they contacted the State Department?

To think that Beirut used to be known as the Paris of the Middle East. It looks like Barry and Hillary have their hands full with disturbances in Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon.

Buy Danish on January 25, 2011 at 5:32 PM

HornetSting on January 25, 2011 at 5:25 PM

HornetSting:Oh ya,jobs alright,tonite….Obama will be,

`’SHOVEL-READY’!!!:)

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Shovel ready has been deemed hate speech. Please step away from the computer and think about what you have just said, put on a black and white ribbon, and crease your pants just like obama or you will suffer the consequences.
I hope the Lebanese enjoy throwing rocks in the streets for a living.

HornetSting on January 25, 2011 at 5:35 PM

roux
State Department warnings for U.S. citizens in Lebanon.

I trust your friends know about this…

The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens that some political factions are calling for demonstrations throughout the country, beginning on January 25. The Embassy urges U.S. citizens to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security.

Major and minor roads may become blocked with no advance notice. The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens that even peaceful gatherings can turn violent and spread with little or no warning. The Embassy therefore strongly urges U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Lebanon to monitor news reports, avoid large gatherings of people, and carefully consider their safety and security before choosing to visit popular gathering spots or places where large numbers of people are commonly found.

Any disruptions may cause the Embassy to restrict planned travel of U.S. government employees temporarily, which could prevent Embassy officials from providing assistance in affected areas.

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Lebanon are encouraged to enroll in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Lebanon. U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Buy Danish on January 25, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Which is why I’ve never fully understood this strategy, but oh well:

The strategy has little to do with Lebanon, and much to do with a certain target farther south.

Vashta.Nerada on January 25, 2011 at 5:42 PM

The R-word in Tunisia is a good thing, but not in Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood is ready and willing to step into any leadership void. The first thing they would do is renounce the 1979 peace agreement with Israel.

Here’s hoping Mubarak puts down the protests hard and hangs in there.

slickwillie2001 on January 25, 2011 at 5:42 PM

State of the Union: Obama’s Economic Strategy Rests Largely on Hope

http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/state-of-the-union-obama%27s-economic-strategy-rests-largely-on-hope-535849.html

Someone should tell these shitsticks that hope leaves you with an empty stomach.

darwin-t on January 25, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Maybe Obowma can make a speech…

… or something.

Seven Percent Solution on January 25, 2011 at 5:43 PM

The first thing they would do is renounce the 1979 peace agreement with Israel.
Here’s hoping Mubarak puts down the protests hard and hangs in there.

slickwillie2001 on January 25, 2011 at 5:42 PM

Yep. I’m not liking the flight out, though. TMB is probing for soft spots, and that has to encourage them.

a capella on January 25, 2011 at 5:51 PM

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 5:31 PM

And you know what he’ll be shoveling!

odat on January 25, 2011 at 5:55 PM

I’ve got a couple of free passes to have your wedding vows renewed in Arabic by Nasrallah himself just outside Beirut. My dog broke the other day and now I can’t go. Anybody want them?

BL@KBIRD on January 25, 2011 at 5:55 PM

BL@KBIRD on January 25, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Broke??? You got one of these?

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/04/21/robot-dogs.html

odat on January 25, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Piece by piece, the landscape scenario becomes more and more harshly stacked against Israel, but we can’t meddle.

There’s a tipping point somewhere all the line, either we trade our overt pantie waist Euro style Chamberlain politics for stealth intervention or the ensuing conflict could actually create more world blood shed than what the namby pambies guiding our middle east policy want to dream of.

Get a clue, give the agency a green light.

Speakup on January 25, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Wait… loo…I think those are Gladsen Flags they’rah flyin’!

CynicalOptimist on January 25, 2011 at 6:43 PM

Wait… loo…I think those are Gladsen Flags they’rah flyin’!

CynicalOptimist on January 25, 2011 at 6:43 PM

Clearly, this was Sarah’s doing.

steebo77 on January 25, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Lebanon used to be a real country. But the the democrats destroyed it. Most recently, the evil Obama condemned Lebanon to hell.

proconstitution on January 25, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Islam will solve things.

Start carving many headstones.

profitsbeard on January 25, 2011 at 10:19 PM

STEP program at State, comes with a Smart Power reset button.

Kissmygrits on January 26, 2011 at 8:42 AM