Al-Hamdullila assalemi, nataq Zakariyah.
Though shy, too little-too late, and prodded by the American Administration, the "action" taken yesterday by the mastodont lame duck Sunni prime minister of Lebanon Fuad Siniora is more like throwing a pebble at King Kong Hassan Nasrallah.
The Siniora government has (finally, after 20 or so years) determined that Hezbollah's State-within-the-State cancer, its own spy telecommunications network, and its cronies that have infested the Lebanese institutions, are all illegal. Hum...Siniora's ministerial statement (i.e. government program) in 2005 stated that Hezbollah is a resistance movement that the government endorses!
I don't want to be cynical, because it is a step in the right direction. As I just finished writing a couple of days ago (Bravo Jumblatt: But where are your allies?), all the rhetoric coming from the March 14 mastodonts somehow always falls short, if not outright contradicting and confusing.
So I am a bit exhilarated because someone is finally standing up to the Hezbollah lies about resistance, liberation, all the Islamic crap, divine this and divine that, all the "Blame-it-on-Israel" scare tactics and all the related bullshit.
But the real question, though, is: Is this a first move in a series? Or is this just a stick to stir the hornet's nest, then run for cover? Is Siniora testing how far can the bearded Islamic mogul be teased before he uses his rockets inside Lebanon? Is there a fallback option? Is there a long term plan? Or are we just walking in the dark?
Is this the right approach? Or wouldn't a better approach be to "starve" Hezbollah by severing the Syrian ties to Iran? Is firing a Hezbollah military crony from his cushy airport job sufficient to deter Hezbollah and make it deal? Are the threats to take Hezbolah's telecommunications network to international and Arab referees sufficient?
Unfortunately, I don't think so. Granted that these actions expose - as if anyone didn't know already - Hezbollah's cancerous metastasis, but will they eradicate the tumor? Probably not.
What I personally advocate is a simultaneous cutoff of all the lifelines to Hezbollah (financial, land, air and sea), the complete shutdown of the Lebanese-Syrian borders and the shooting at anything that moves within 5 miles on either side of the border, bombing Damascus's command and control centers to force Syria to kneel, a covert campaign of assassinations inside Syria and Lebanon (similar to the one that Syria has waged against Lebanon), arming the Lebanese army to the hilt, etc.... one can draw a long list of tough actions that are more likely to have an effect than the firing of a low ranking Shiite sergeant from the airport.
Which is why, after the exhilaration of the first moment, I feel let down. Yes, I tell myself. This is going to stir the hornets angry, but it won't dislodge them. Why this weakness in the Lebanese government's response to the Hezbollah challenge? Is it because those March 14 mastodonts used to be Hezbollah's allies a few years back? Is it because the Siniora government program still endorses Hezbollah as a resistance movement that is bent on liberating Lebanon to death?
My feeling is that the Lebanese better brace themselves for a long and bloody one. If the Siniora government approach is going to be this sheepish on-off pin-prick game with the Hezbollah gorilla, then we are in for another decade of mayhem, at least. No end of sight, and no light at the end of the tunnel. With the March 14 idiots representing the best that Lebanon can muster against Hezbollah, we are far from being out of the woods, yet.