Hezb'allah Fully Re-Armed and in Control in Lebanon

Two excellent articles today deal with the sad fate of Lebanon now that Hezb'allah is full in control and, thanks to the stupidity and incompetence of the United Nations force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), fully rearmed with more than 40,000 rockets aimed at Israel.

The first piece is from CNS News that highlight's Israel's dilemma about the threat from Lebanon. The pro-democracy "Cedar Revolution" is all but dead, replaced by a "unity government" that has given Hezb'allah virtual permission to attack Israel whenever it pleases:

The new Lebanese policy statement implies that Hezbollah is allowed to keep its weapons and guarantees "the right of Lebanon's people, army, and resistance to liberate" what it calls "Israeli-occupied" areas and "defend the country using all legal and possible means."
"The resistance" refers to Hezbollah, a heavily armed, Iranian-backed militia that is on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations. But Hezbollah also is a political party in Lebanon, and it has the power -- along with other pro-Syrian groups -- to veto any decision that the Lebanese government makes.
According to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war, the Lebanese government was supposed to disarm Hezbollah.
But instead, Israeli sources say Hezbollah, with Iranian and Syrian assistance, has tripled its pre-war armaments and now has some 40,000 short- and medium-range missiles.

American Thinker contributor Walid Phares, who was born in Lebanon and is a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, is quoted in the piece:

"The Bush administration policy in Lebanon has failed," said Phares, who was a supporter of that policy.
Syria and Iran controlled Lebanon until 2005, said Phares. When pro-democracy forces managed to push Syrian troops out of the country in 2005, the Iranians launched a counter-offensive to seize most of the control back, Phares told CNSNews.com by telephone.
"The Iranians are on the offensive [in Lebanon, Iraq and Gaza]," said Phares, and all of it during a U.S. election year when no one is willing to do anything about it, he said.

Perhaps it might be more accurate to say that the Administration policy never had a chance to be implemented. The State Department, realizing that overt American presence in Lebanon would damage the pro-democracy forces, relied on King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as an intermediary between the factions as well as a conduit for support to the Siniora government. The King did as well as could be hoped but Hezb'allah's armed uprising in the spring dashed any hope that they could be denied. The one thing the US and international community had no control over was the threat by Hezb'allah to risk civil war to get what they wanted. Once that threat was openly on the table, the Sunnis and most of the Christians had no choice but to acquiesce to Hezb'allah demands.

The threat of civil war was always Hezb'allah's trump card since they were the only armed and organized militia in the country. In the end, the parties were left with the stark choice of surrender or allow another round of sectarian bloodletting to stain the nation. It is no suprise they chose peace.

Nor is it a suprise that the incompetence and corruption of the UN force in Lebanon would allow the terrorists to rearm - right under their noses. This piece in Frontpage details that maddening process while listing chapter and verse of all the UN resolutions Lebanon and Hezb'allah have ignored:

Barak also remarked, after meeting with Vice-President Richard Cheney, that since the war Hezbollah has doubled or tripled its missile arsenal. Most of the weapons are Iranian-made and smuggled through Syria; some are made in Syria itself; and then there are the Russian-made SA-8 anti-aircraft missiles that appear set for delivery and would constitute a dangerous escalation by threatening Israel's crucial air superiority.

There is no small irony in the fact that Israeli leaders, particularly Livni, are now petitioning world figures to do something about this problem. Back in 2006 Livni was one of the main enthusiasts of 1701 and particularly its stipulation of enhanced UNIFIL and Lebanese-army forces in southern Lebanon-even though UNIFIL is a fundamentally hopeless extension of the UN and the Lebanese army is largely Shiite and sympathetic to Hezbollah.

The world stood by while democracy died and the independence of the tiny state was taken from it by Iran and Syria. When next Hezb'allah attacks Israel, they will have the backing of the Lebanese government. That will prove catastrophic to Lebanon because Hezb'allah is deluding itself if it thinks it can defeat Israel in the next go-around. The IDF will not play nice and walk into Hezb'allah traps. They will respond with overwhelming force and more than likely re-occupy the south.

The dream of a free and independent Lebanon is dead for the moment. Only by ridding themselves of Hezb'allah - or having Israel do it for them - can Lebanon emerge from the shadows cast by Syria and Iran.

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