Letter from a Lebanese Army Officer
Paris – France
July 21, 2006
As a result of its implication in the many assassinations and assassination attempts that rattled Lebanon in 2004 and 2005 – beginning with the attempt against the life of Marwan Hamadeh, then Minister of Communications in the Lebanese government – Hezbollah has chosen to run ahead of the impending outcome of the inquiry by the international community into the assassinations.
Without nowhere to go but down, Hezbollah wants to drag the world with it and bring he temple down on everyone. By deciding to attack Israel in the latter’s own territory, which requires it to cross the Blue Line, and by kidnapping two and killing eight Israeli soldiers instead of an attack in the disputed Shebaa Farms area, Hezbollah has in fact deliberately provided Israel with the legitimacy of an all-out war of reprisals which has indeed received the blessings, implicit and in some cases explicit, of the international community.
On the other hand, Hezbollah’s main ally, Iran, has ironically said it will protect Syria if the latter is attacked by Israel, but did not mention Lebanon which is being torn to pieces by Israel. Similarly, Syria has simply indicated that it wishes to stay out of the conflict, all the while supporting the Lebanese people from a “humanitarian” standpoint. Same hypocrisy and indifference from both countries.
Ideally, it would have been best if the Lebanese State had taken matters in its own hands long before this adventure, and decided to implement resolution 1559 by deploying the Lebanese Army in South Lebanon, thus preempting any initiatives by both Israel and Hezbollah. This, however, was not possible because of the threats prophesized by Hezbollah about the inevitable civil war.
If this war ends in the defeat of Hezbollah, which remains a seriously hypothetical outcome to this date, one would reach the conclusion that it was all worth it, notwithstanding the internal dissensions it might generate. However, it still is the best of outcomes, in spite of the enormous destruction it will continue to inflict and the loss of human life. Such a defeat would serve as a lesson for all movements of Hezbollah’s ilk and would topple many ideologies founded on the same principles as Hezbollah’s.
But it this war ends in a standoff, negative or positive, the entire premise of Hezbollah (Islamic State, the destruction of Israel, great Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah axis, etc.) would remain viable, and all the sacrifices expended to this date by the Lebanese people would have been in vain, since the world, the US in particular, would never allow Israel to perish. Which is why a ceasefire, even under the best of conditions, would not really fix the problem and would only postpone it to be confronted yet again another day.
The picture right now is very bleak. The Israelis are determined to destroy an invisible enemy, an enemy that is embedded and hiding within the population and which resurfaces after each blow. Hezbollah is determined to fight to the bitter end, because it is cornered and has no other choice. Syria watches from its mortuary and its usual indifference, with a keen interest in seeing one day the international community plead with it to re-enter and “stabilize” Lebanon. Iran, which wants the destruction of Israel and is not shy about proclaiming its wish, is arming Hezbollah via Syria but has succeeded so far only in destroying Lebanon.
Everything, therefore, seems to hinge on the outcome of the battle in the field.
With all the negative reaction that might be caused by the position of a Lebanese Army officer wishing for the victory of the enemy, such a victory is the best of alternatives, and the international community should put its weight behind it by helping in the destruction of Hezbollah. In so doing, the international community would end the genuine suffering of the Lebanese people that have suffered long enough, and would remove any ground from under the resurgence of fundamentalist movements that are likely to feed future wars.
To think that Hezbollah might win is a scary thought. Equally frightening is for Israel to, once again, settle for a tie. Israel had already made the huge mistake of conceding to Hezbollah a retreat from South Lebanon in May 2000, instead of withdrawing through some kind of negotiations – even if only as a formality – with the Lebanese government. For if the latter was at the time under the Syrian yoke and could not dialogue with the enemy, this is no longer the case today.