Lebanese unrest turning back the clock?
ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images In the second day of an escalating standoff between the Lebanese government and Hezbollah, there are reports of at least one death and five injuries and the possibility of civil war seems less far-fetched. The unrest first broke out after the government tried to cut into Hezbollah’s operations by banning a Hezbollah-run ...
ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images
In the second day of an escalating standoff between the Lebanese government and Hezbollah, there are reports of at least one death and five injuries and the possibility of civil war seems less far-fetched.
The unrest first broke out after the government tried to cut into Hezbollah’s operations by banning a Hezbollah-run telecommunications network in southern Lebanon. The network was likely Hezbollah’s primary means of communication during its 2006 war with Israel.
Then, reports that Hezbollah had installed cameras near the Beirut airport to monitor the movements of anti-Syria politicians — possibly to assassinate them — led the government to dismiss the airport’s security chief. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed to keep the employee in his post and to strike back at these affronts, irking Lebanon’s top Sunni leader Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani:
We used to think that Hezbollah is concerned with fighting the Israeli occupation, and all of a sudden it is turning to be a militant force to occupy Beirut, and this is why we call upon the Arab and Islamic nations to help us and stop these harmful aggressions in Lebanon.”
Meanwhile, Ya Libnan makes an interesting point that Nasrallah’s campaign may achieve the very thing Israeli army Chief of Staff Lt. General Dan Halutz threatened at the start of the Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006: to send the country back twenty years. Hezbollah supporters’ tent camps have paralyzed parts of downtown Beirut and now they are springing up along the road to the airport which will be a vital source of tourism revenue this summer. It’s shaping up to be yet another example of Hezbollah’s “resistance” hurting the very people it claims to fight for.
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