Monday, May 12, 2008

Taking Maximum Lines

Back in the Second World War, admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Fleet Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese, had told his political masters that after a victory at Pearl Harbour;

In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success.

And so it was. The admiral did not live to see his understated prediction come true. Even he could have foreseen the sheer horror visited upon Japan by the allied bombing campaign, culminating in the two nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In Lebanon today, we are witnessing a similar history, and one fears the situation is slowly evolving towards a similar horror. Hezb ran wild across Beirut, and is now storming the mountains. But such “shock and awe” tactics are now showing their limitations; in the mountain, Nasrallah’s troops appear to have met serious setbacks, in the rest of the country, they have awakened a restive and now hateful giant. More worrying, those tactics may exact a heavy price on Lebanon.

The Battle of the Mountain

As in the past war, the Druze have united in a sectarian fight against “the Shiite”. For all the talk from pro-Syrian “leaders”, it appears that all “bani maarouf” have been checking Hezb’s advance all through last Sunday, maintaining control over their towns and strategic positions such as “hill 888” and well into Sunday night, all in the face of a heavy artillery barrage, with Hezb’s guns bombing many Druze villages.

Hezb’s forces may yet storm the mountain; the Druze are isolated and encircled, and supplies should be running low. The news blackout creates difficulties, but we can always figure a few things out; the artillery barrage, for example, had been going on all Sunday with little reports, and whatever filtered was inaccurate… But we're sure of one thing; those “mlabbas” was not ‘82’s, but a much higher caliber.

Tings should be clearer by tomorrow, but one thing is certain; this is the Druze's finest hour.

The Rise of the Nasties

Elsewhere, the population has been confronting Hezb, and the situation has been unraveling fast. In most of the country, it has already turned into a sectarian fight, and Sunni fundamentalists are rising against what they consider to be apostates. Bashar's comeback may not be an easy one, especially if Sunni-Alawite clashes in Tripoli spread into Syria...

In the North, the news blackout and Hariri’s silence are having a perverse effect, encouraging the worse rumours among an already paranoid proletariat. What filtered out so far is worrying, to say the least; the attack against the pro-Hezb PSNS/SNSP (a.k.a .Nationalsozialistische Syrische Volksparte ) offices in Halba was more like a massacre, and Shiite villages in the Akkar region are now effectively cut-off, and may soon come under attack unless the Army intervenes.

In the Beqaa, while Hezb domination is strong, there is some fighting, and standoff in the Southern Beqaa between Joumblat’s PSNS and the “opposition. There were talks that the army attempted to move in as a “buffer”, but little is know of what happened so far, and I think little will.

The Southern Neighbour

One thing is certain, we have lost two major shields that protect Lebanon.

The first shield is the army, which has all but unravelled, increasingly perceived by many as acting in coordination with Hezb. Whether this is the reality is debatable, but the perceptions matter supremely, especially when information is so dire.

One thing is certain, the “unfairness” of military orders that enjoin them to “keep the peace” in the North while standing by in the rest of the country was apparently not lost of many officers and soldiers. Whether the rumours of officer resignations are doubtful, the fact is that Sunni and Christian troops in the North are standing by while the nasties are moving around exacting Sectarian revenge.

The only thing keeping the army together now is that no crazy officer came along to make stupid declarations.

The second shield is legality, such as it is. Aside from the fat that the “opposition’s” calling PM Siniora corrupt is like the pot calling the kettle black. For all his faults and those of March 14th, the Prime Mniister today IS Lebanon, considering the International contest.

Without Siniora we have no government. Without a government, the Israelis would feel justified in considering Lebanon to be a “Hezbbollah State”. And this would mean that all UN resolutions and cease-fires would be voided. One of them is of particular interest; the agreement on border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel.

Interesting that they've been preparing for that eventuality...

Whose side is Nasrallah really on?

...

8 comments:

Nobody said...

In the North, the news blackout and Hariri’s silence are having a perverse effect, encouraging the worse rumours among an already paranoid proletariat. What filtered out so far is worrying, to say the least; the attack against the pro-Hezb PSNS offices in Halba was more like a massacre, and Shiite villages in the Akkar region are now effectively cut-off, and may soon come under attack unless the Army intervenes.

In the Beqaa, while Hezb domination is strong, there is some fighting, and standoff in the Southern Beqaa between Joumblat’s PSNS and the “opposition. There were talks that the army attempted to move in as a “buffer”, but little is know of what happened so far, and I think little will.


I think what was attacked in Akkar is an SSNP office. And Joumblat's party should is called PSP or something.

amir in tel aviv said...

How really are the Druze divided between M14 and the opposition?

Is it any reliable account of how many Druze support M14 Vs. how many support Arsalan and Co. ??
.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that you are right in your last paragraph. All the members of the government are part of this complot in making Lebanon a failed state. Their incompetency, lack of national interest and, coruption have helped a lot and we should not make the error over and over again in getting stuck into this vicious circle of backing them because of a lack of other options or at least that is what we think. In your statement, you are too sure of yourself in thinking what is good for the future of the country while those people or this specific person showed anything but competency and national interest.

Amos said...

Jeha,

Did you see this in the Israeli press? Stern is arguing that the army is actually closely cooperating with Hezb.

Anonymous said...

i think the haaretz.com article is correct in its analysis. at worst the army is just ineffective, at best it is trully keeping the peace. most likely it is doing what it must to survive - like everyone in lebanon these days. however, perhaps the talk of general sulayman becoming president have clouded the judgement of the leaders.

Anonymous said...

The haaretz article is analyzing the facts and stating the logic behind it. so what else do you think the army is doing than backing HA? Un peu de bougeotte, mon cher.

Anonymous said...

The Army is NOT necessarily backing HA. My thoughts here, FWIW.

Ghassan said...

Jeha,
Early victories on the field do not always translate into eventual victors. Three other examples besides that of Admiral Yamamoto would be: Napoleon in Russia (2) The German army on the Eastern Front in WWII and (3) last but not least the 1973 Syrian and Egyptian armies.
If March 14 play their cards right then they will be able to snatch a victory for Lebanon out of all this mess.