They moved on Beirut after the government had the temerity to shut down their communications (i.e. spy) network and fire their stooge from overseeing security at the airport. Problem solved: The network has been restored and the stooge is back at work, thanks to a “settlement” brokered by the Arab League in which Hezbollah gets everything it wants and the opposition maybe gets some token rhetoric about disarmament one of these days. No wonder there was celebratory gunfire in Hezbollah-controlled areas after the deal was announced.
What’s the practical effect of all this? As I understand it, there was only one national institution that had earned the trust of Lebanon’s various sects: namely, the army. That’s gone now, shattered by its complicity in Hezbollah’s coup. Writes Caroline Glick:
[S]ince Hizbullah began its violent takeover of Lebanon last Wednesday, it has done so with the full cooperation of the Lebanese army. When Hizbullah forces raided, set fire to and destroyed Hariri’s Future News newspaper offices and Future TV station, they did so with Lebanese army escort. Suleiman’s forces did not reopen Hariri’s pro-democracy media outlets after they ordered Hizbullah forces to leave the streets of Beirut over the weekend. They did not confront Hizbullah forces in Tripoli or Tyre. And now they are allowing the Druse to be destroyed.
And of course, the Shi’ite-dominated Lebanese army rendered Hizbullah the victor in its coup when the generals announced they would not carry out the Saniora government’s anti-Hizbullah decisions from last Tuesday.
The hard lesson is that the only protection the Sunnis, Christians, and Druze have from the Shiites in the future will be from their own militias, a fact the Sunnis are already digesting and acting upon. Quote: “[L]ocal media already are reporting the formation of Sunni jihadist networks around the northern city of Tripoli, as well as in the eastern Bekaa Valley, where there’s a major Hezbollah stronghold.” Abu Kais says hatred of the Shiites in non-Shiite areas is worse than it’s ever been and declares that the “sectarian genie … is out of the bottle.” Consider it a sneak preview of Iraq if the Shiite elements within the Iraqi army ever succeed in tilting it towards the majority and away from being a national force. Exit question: What do we do now? Start sending weapons to the other sects to keep Hezbollah in check or hang back, dare them to take over the country, and wait for Israel to come up with a brilliant idea?