Lebanon on the Razor’s Edge Again

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hassan Hanizadeh 

The rising tension between government supporters and opposition forces in Lebanon has given rise to a volatile situation that could spin out of control.
The Fouad Siniora government’s order to shut down Hezbollah’s telecoms network, which is part of the movement’s resistance apparatus, is part of a new plot meant to drag Hezbollah into an unwanted civil war.

Since the summer of 2006, the Western-backed ruling coalition has been trying to downplay the significance of Hezbollah’s historic victory over the Zionist regime in the 33-day war.

As a part of this process, the pro-government coalition, known as the March 14 group, started trying to undermine the efforts of Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa and Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to convince all the factions to reach a consensus on electing a president and forming a national unity government.

With support from the United States and the European Union, the March 14 group has been trying to monopolize power and marginalize the March 8 group, which includes Hezbollah, Amal, and the Free Patriotic Movement led by Michel Aoun.

The frequent visits to Beirut by U.S. officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch, and their overt and covert meetings with March 14 group leaders, as well as Welch’s warning that it is going to be a very long “hot summer” in the Middle East, are further indications that Washington wants to implement a managed chaos strategy in the Mediterranean country.

Prime Minister Siniora’s order to shut down Hezbollah’s telecoms network shows that the United States and some other extra-regional powers have formulated a new plot to start an internecine conflict in Lebanon.

Siniora made the decision in order to facilitate entry into Lebanon for Mossad and CIA operatives tasked with assassinating figures allied with the Lebanese resistance movement.

Concurrent with this order, news networks like Al Arabiya, Saudi Arabia’s MBC, and Future TV, which is run by Saad al-Hariri, the leading member of the March 14 group, began airing reports in a coordinated effort to sully the image of resistance leaders.

In addition, a gathering of Lebanese peacefully protesting against the sacking of the airport security chief was violently attacked by suspicious elements allied to the Saad al-Hariri-Walid Jumblatt-Samir Geagea triumvirate, resulting in the death of at least 11 people and leaving dozens more injured.

The Lebanese people view Hezbollah’s telecoms network as one of the main factors which contributed to the movement’s victory in the 33-day war since it was used as a tool to neutralize the Zionist military’s electronic warfare activities during the conflict.

At a press conference on Thursday, Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah called the decision to shut down the network a “declaration of war” against Hezbollah and warned that the resistance movement would not allow any power to disarm it.

Meanwhile, Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt’s irresponsible criticism of the Islamic resistance proves that certain groups are attempting to spark a new crisis in Lebanon.

If the clashes in Beirut are not ended immediately and the Siniora government doesn’t rescind its order to shut down Hezbollah’s telecoms network, the situation will degenerate into a new crisis which will eventually drag regional and extra-regional powers into Lebanon’s conflict


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