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My Poor Non-Homeland

A little over 40-(cough) years ago, I was born in Lebanon. No, not Lebanon the country -- Lebanon, the town in New Hampshire that calls itself a city. We don't even pronounce it the same (the "O" gets "U" sound), but I've always felt a bit of vague interest in my home town's namesake. Hell, we had a governor and a Senator (John H. Sununu and John E. Sununu, father and son) who are of Lebanese descent.

And Lebanon has been a sad, sad state for some time now.

Currently, it's pretty much without a functioning government. It was a coalition government, and enough members of the coalition quit, so it fell apart. What's interesting -- and infuriating -- is the reason those members left.

The members that quit are members of Hezbollah, the terrorist group that is also a political party. And they were upset because a UN commission investigated the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri, a former Prime Minister of Lebanon from a very influential family. Hariri's murder is officially unsolved, but the bomb pretty much had Hamas' fingerprints all over it.

Hezbollah (Arabic for "party of Allah") is an Islamist extremist group that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. They consider themselves at war with Israel, and have started several actual shooting wars -- which they've all lost, to the detriment of Lebanon. After the last one, the UN brokered a peace settlement, that required that Hezbollah be disarmed and the Lebanese military (which Hezbollah had blocked from operating in the southern tier of their own country). That ink on that UN Security Council resolution wasn't even dry before Syria and Iran (who jointly control Hezbollah) started re-arming Hezbollah, so they are now better armed than they were before the last war.

Well, the investigation into Hariri's murder actually came up with names in Hezbollah, and was ready to bring them to justice when Hezbollah (which won enough seats in Lebanon's government to give them de facto control over the government) decided to simply collapse the sitting government to postpone -- if not prevent -- that government from taking any action against it.

This resulted because Hezbollah is allowed to have a "militant" and a "political" wing. The group is allowed to maintain the polite fiction that its terrorists are separate from its political activists, that its terrorism is entirely separate from its political deeds, and there is a wall of separation between the two.

It's bullshit.

It was bullshit when the IRA tried it, but they at least gave the two branches different names ("Sinn Fein" was the political arm) and maintained a modicum of separation and deniability. It's still bullshit in Gaza, where the terrorist group Hamas is the legally elected authority.

When a terrorist group wins an election, that doesn't suddenly wash away the blood they've shed. It doesn't instantly absolve them of their terrorist past. And it doesn't transform them into a legitimate political movement.

What it makes them is a terrorist group that has garnered a bit of political power. They are still terrorists, and ought to be treated as such. And if they win control of a government, they are still terrorists.

What we're seeing in Lebanon is just a taste of what we would face if we start dealing with Hamas as the legitimate government of the Gaza Strip. There are very valid reasons why we don't deal with terrorists, and those reasons are not trumped simply because they have won elections.

Lebanon had a chance a few years ago, after the invasion of Iraq. All of a sudden Syria and Iran realized that they really shouldn't do too much to draw attention to themselves. The Lebanese people rose up, and demanded that the two -- especially Syria, whose influence is considerably more overt than Iran's -- get the hell out of their country. And they were succeeding, until Hezbollah decided to start killing its foes in extremely visible fashion, and starting a fresh war with Israel.

For decades, Lebanon and Israel got along pretty well. Until the Palestinians and Hezbollah decided that Lebanon -- with its border on Israel -- would be a darned good place to launch attacks on Israel. And ever since that started, almost 30 years ago, Lebanon has been torn apart by outsiders bringing their fight with Israel to Lebanon, and Israel hitting back.

Man, am I glad I was born in this Lebanon.

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Comments (9)

And the farce will continue... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

And the farce will continue until the Lebanese Muslims - get tired of the bullshit and start doing something about it.

Lebanon was also the touris... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Lebanon was also the tourist jewel in the Middle East crown. Just think of all the profit they lost with their pettiness. ww

Been to both Lebanons (actu... (Below threshold)
Don L:

Been to both Lebanons (actually 3 -there's one in CT) the Lebanon of the mid-east was a gem of a place to be in 1953 -American university, ancient history, Roman ruins, 3,000 yr old cedars etc.friendly people. Not any more.

I prefer your home town too - better trout fishing.

I know you are, at differen... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

I know you are, at different points, talking about both Hamas and Hezbollah, but, I think you meant Hezbollah in this sentence:

Hariri's murder is officially unsolved, but the bomb pretty much had Hamas' fingerprints all over it.
"the bomb pretty much had H... (Below threshold)
Alain:

"the bomb pretty much had Hamas' fingerprints all over it."
Actually Hamas has nothing to do with lebanon and the bomb had syrias fingerprints all over it.

"hezbollah (which won enough seats in Lebanon's government to give them de facto control over the government"

Perhaps you should stop reading PRESSTV; Hezbollah is in the minority camp since it only got the shia votes who are represented by 28 representatives out of 128 ( as opposed to the christian 64 ). they had 10 ministers out of 30 in the government they brought down.

"Lebanon had a chance a few years ago"

you mean when we Forced syria out with the help of france after 50% of the population demonstrated against their occupation which was sanctioned by the "US" and when we voted overwhelmingly in favor of 14 march ( the forces oppose hizbollah ) and then repeated the same thing in 2010?

"Man, am I glad I was born in this Lebanon. "

likewise I couldn't be prouder that I was born in the holy land of the Real Lebanon, a real patriot and a real christian.

Rest assured American that we will win this battle without the empty promises of your failing country. its what we've doing for millenniums before you stole you country.

Man, could americans get any stupider?

"Man, could americans get a... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Man, could americans get any stupider?"

Last I checked, our country isn't a war zone.

FYI, "Americans" is capitalized and the relevant expression would be 'more stupid', but that would be an oxymoron.

As I read your post, Jay Te... (Below threshold)
Maggie Mama:

As I read your post, Jay Tea, I couldn't help but thinking of a current news story -- Haiti and the return of Baby Doc.

Although there is no "terrorist" organization in Haiti, I don't know how much of the issue is political power as it is MONEY.

Yassar Arafat was more interested in foreign money coming in to his coffers than in achieving peace.

Do you think money could be motivating much of what happens with Hamas?

p.s. Baby Doc went to exile in Paris and Arafat's wife and daughter resided in the lovely, but expensive city as well.


"Last I checked, our... (Below threshold)
Alain:


"Last I checked, our country isn't a war zone."

check again, living in Lebanon is ten times safer than the "usa" just check your own "ciafactbook" for the relevant statistics, you ignorant uppity monolingual.

Here's a truism for you, China is gonna want its $$ back one day.


""Man, could americans get any stupider?"

FYI, "Americans" is capitalized and the relevant expression would be 'more stupid', but that would be an oxymoron."

HahAhAhahHHAhhahHAhahHahHHahahHAhhHA; thank you for answering my question american.


"Here's a truism for you, C... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Here's a truism for you, China is gonna want its $$ back one day."

No shit. On that we can agree.

As for your last. Check entry #5. Last line.

What's the matter Alain - no fiber in your breakfast this morning?




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