Hezbollah’s Beirut victory has inflicted a major black eye upon the credibility of the West. Once again, Hassan Nasrallah went all-in, and won, a showdown with the US/ Saudi/ Israeli/ Egyptian axis.
The latest strife began when the Sunni-led government found cameras in trash cans at the end of Beirut International Airport’s main runway, to film all aircraft entering and leaving the “country.” The government fired the chief of airport security and declared Hezbollah’s private telecom network to be a threat to national security.
Five days later, the suspect general’s authority over airport security has been reinstated; the Hezbollah telecom network has been declared off-limits to anybody, including the central government; Gen. Suleiman has sided with Syria and Hezbollah; and the pro-Western coalition, especially Saad al-Hariri’s Future Movement (tayyar al-mustaqbal), have been exposed as impotent.
The Sunni front miscalculated. Either the coalition counted upon Suleiman to declare a state of emergency and arrest Hezbollah’s assault on Beirut, or the coalition counted upon Israel to step in in the event of Syrian involvement — in which case the Israelis sold out their Lebanese allies, presumably to repay the Syrians for assassinating Mughniyah effecting a divorce with Teheran.
(The only reason I am bringing that theory up again is because Nasrallah was sidelined by Teheran after 2006, because his instigation of the war against Israel aggrandized Nasrallah at Teheran’s expense. The fashionable theories of Mughniyah’s assassination are that 1) the Saudis did it, through Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or 2) Shia Lebanese nationalists — Nasrallah –, and Syrian nationalists — Asef Shawkat — collaborated to kill Mughniyah, and so limit Iranian encroachment upon both Lebanon and Syria. It doesn’t make very much sense that Iran would be happy with Nasrallah seizing the limelight once again.)
However, we can be almost certain that the Saudis were the ones responsible for Mughniyah’s death, judging from the public source information that, for example, the car that incinerated Mughniyah was owned by a Syrian woman seduced by the Saudi embassy attache.
Anyway, there still seems to be significant coordination between Hezbollah and Damascus, credible open sources’ words to the contrary. The Mughniyah conspirators in Syria are all dead or under house arrest. The integrity of Damascus’s networks is definitely under question, but the iron Shia triangle of Damascus, Hezbollah and Teheran is essentially intact.
Meanwhile, where was the Olmert regime? Lying about progress of peace negotiations in an effort to justify giving more Israeli land to people who hate Israel, to extricate itself from a deepening mire of corruption and public contempt. Israel couldn’t have dived into Lebanon to save Hariri et al, but Olmert’s fecklessness has been plain for all to see. Israeli media are still talking about the most recent charges against Olmert even more so their allies’ disintegration in Beirut.
The US/Arab/Israel axis is huddling now. Hezbollah is “magnanimously” backing down from its conquests, probably hoping that this audacious move will not provoke a broader retaliation from the Arab powers.
Hezbollah’s Beirut victory is to Hariri, Jumblatt and Siniora what Hezbollah’s 2006 victory was to the IDF. It was a devastating blow to a previously credible institution(s). Hezbollah needs to be smashed. Iraq is untenable unless Teheran’s proxies are mauled. If there is no retaliation, the Hariri government will be utterly devoid of credibility. Lebanon will fall to Hezbollah and Hezbollah’s victory will be complete.
And don’t think this doesn’t have ramifications all over the region, either. The Shiite-controlled central government of Iraq signed a sudden cease-fire with al-Sadr yesterday. Iran spoke very loudly and clearly yesterday, and its puppets in the ISCI and in Baghdad were the first to hear it.
This should be an interesting week.