Non—state organizations like al Qaeda and Hezbollah are difficult to war against. Hamas controls the Palestinian Authority (not quite a state itself), and now Hezbollah in Lebanon is behaving as a state, to some degree. Megan K. Stack and Rania Abouzeid writen an op—ed in the Los Angeles Times.
As Lebanon's largest political party and most potent armed force, Hezbollah has long been described as a "state within a state" — a Shiite Muslim minigovernment boasting close ties to Iran and Syria.
But Wednesday's move across the border to capture two Israeli soldiers went a step further: Hezbollah acted as the state itself, threatening to drag Lebanon into a war.
The country's elected government was still in meetings Wednesday, arguing over what to say in public, when Hezbollah chief Sheik Hassan Nasrallah went before television cameras with a pointed threat for the ruling elite.
"Today is a time for solidarity and cooperation, and we can have discussions later. I warn you against committing any error. This is a national responsibility," the cleric said, looking every inch the head of state.
Any criticism over the capture of the two Israeli soldiers would be tantamount to colluding with Israel, Nasrallah said, making it clear that he expected citizens and officials to heed his orders.
"To the Lebanese people, both officials and non—officials, nobody should behave in a way that encourages the enemy to attack Lebanon, and nobody should say anything that gives cover to attack Lebanon," he said.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky
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