In order to back its Saudi poodles in Lebanon (Hariri, Siniora, Gemayel, Jumblatt and Geagea) against the Iranian poodle terrorist organization Hezbollah, and because Nasrallah was barking threats against Israel last week following the killing of Hezbollah's Terrorist-in-Chief Imad Mughniyah, the US is showing some muscle by dispatching warships (including the USS Cole of sad fame) off the Lebanese coast.
The question is: What can the ships do?
1. At the very least, it's a show of force beyond which there is no spine, very much like what President Reagan did in 1984 in Beirut. After Mughniyah's bombing of the US Marines barracks in Beirut in October 1983 and the debacle of the spineless Westerners against the Syrian-Hezbollah onslaught against the MultiNational Force and Lebanon's Christians, Reagan pulled the Marines onto the USS New Jersey and fired two shells into the Shouf mountains of Walid Jumblatt (who was then an enemy of the US and today is a great friend and ally of the US). We never heard the last of the "barbaric" US attack against the poor Druze villagers of Jumblatt, but the US fled the scene of the crime against the Marines, Lebanon was forced by Syria to abrogate the peace-treaty it had concluded with Israel, and Lebanon was abandoned wholesale to Syria, Hezbollah, Iran, the Saudis and the Kuwaitis, all of whom then were vicious enemies of the US and supporters of Hezbollah. This surrender to terrorism will come back to haunt the US in hundreds of terrorist attacks culminating in September 2001.
2. Is the US trying to show its support for Israel, should Hassan Nasrallah make real his threats? That may be, but what can the three ships do that Israel did not try in the summer of 2006 when it leveled Lebanon to the ground and was unable to dislodge Hezbollah from its rat holes?
3. Is the US trying to "scare off" Hezbollah against even attempting a strike against Israel?
Perhaps, but Hezbollah did evict the US in 1984 from Lebanon with kidnappings, hijackings, bombings and killings... So in the mind of Hezbollah's leadership, to have an old enemy visiting the place again is an invitation to strike again. Which means that the US may be trying to provoke Hezbollah - not only against Israel, but also against Western targets and primarily American ones. If this is true, then the US, its Lebanese allies, and Israel are all trying to drag Hezbollah into a confrontation that is likely to be deadlier than July 2006. If this is the intent of the US, then Bush should better be ready this time - real well - and not squander again a precious opportunity like he did in Iraq. If he is seeking a fight against Syria, Iran and Hezbollah on Lebanese soil, then he should be ready to go all the way, once and for all. We don;t want another Iraq in Lebanon. We don't want cold feet, damp hands, weak knees and spineless backs. The Lebanese have paid so much over 40 years because of Western ineptitude in confronting Syria and the other assholes. They may be willing to pay one more time, as long as it is the last time.
4 - As a corollary of the discussion under 3 above, is the US then preparing for a ground invasion of Lebanon. The cataclysmic impact of such a move cannot be measured, but this is certainly the best way to "avenge" 1983-1984 and the American debacle and surrender to Hezbollah. It is also a sure way to eradicate - for good - the Hezbollah cancer, sever the Syrian umbilical cord, push Lebanon to the closest it's ever been to making peace with Israel (like Egypt, like Jordan, like Tunisia, like the Arab Emirates...), and finally shelter Lebanon from the ramifications of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But the ramifications on the negative side are as dangerous:
- Dragging Syria, Israel and Iran into a bigger conflict
- Open another guerilla war in Lebanon
- Much destruction and devastation will be visited on Lebanon, already decimated by 40 years of wars, and most importantly, it raises the question of
- Will the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel fulfill their dream of settling the Palestinian refugees permanently in Lebanon, thus easing the path for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Good Luck, America. Good Luck, Lebanon.