How long can the people who live in this area continue to shoot at each other on only one side of an arbitrary line in the valley?
I hardly saw any Hezbollah flags. The Syrian-Iranian proxy militia is all but invisible. But it’s still clear who lives in the area and who they support. Billboards on the side of the road feature Bashar al-Assad wearing sunglasses and military fatigues. Iran’s dead tyrant Ayatollah Khomeini makes several appearances, as do Iran’s current rulers Ayatollah Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I saw a couple of Iranian flags, but hardly any Lebanese flags. You could be forgiven for thinking you were somewhere in Iran if you didn’t know better.
The Lebanese Army mans a few checkpoints in the area, but the checkpoints aren’t serious. They are pure security theater. I was waved through with hardly a glance and without even stopping the car. To be sure, I didn’t look even remotely like a Free Syrian Army guy or a Hezbollah member in my little rented Renault, but still. A serious army on the razor’s edge of a war zone should at least pretend to be interested in who is coming or going, but Lebanon’s isn’t. The border area is exposed and wide open. Just about anything could come out of the Syrian crucible and into Lebanon without meeting any resistance at all. Just yesterday artillery shells from the Syrian army landed in Lebanon’s Akkar region, a few dozen miles to the northwest. The Lebanese Army has done nothing about it and will continue doing nothing about it.