I had the opportunity to watch a recent CNN interview with the Lebanese Prime Minister Mr. Fouad Siniora. The interview was a disappointment. This was Mr. Siniora’s chance to distance Lebanon from Hezbollah and rally the Lebanese against Hezbollah. Instead, Mr. Siniora’s interview provided ample evidence why Israel’s recent actions in Lebanon are justified and appropriate.
Mr. Siniora made it clear that he does not fault Hezbollah for their continued aggression against Israel. Nor does he hold them responsible for the kidnapping of two Israeli solders. At no time did he agree that Hezbollah should be disarmed and disbanded. Far from condemning Hezbollah he went to great lengths to excuse and justify Hezbollah’s continued presence in Lebanon. Like any good Arab politician, Mr. Siniora could never let logical reasoning ever get the upper hand over him.
No country can survive the existence of militias other than a single nationally recognized armed force. The problem in Lebanon is that every political and sectarian faction has its own armed militia. The largest and strongest of which is by far Hezbollah. The Taif Agreement and U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 called for the disbanding and disarming of Hezbollah. The U.N. Security Council Resolution 1583 asked that Lebanon to exercise its authority throughout southern Lebanon. However, to this day the Lebanese government remains unenthusiastic about disarming this terrorist organization or gaining control of southern Lebanon.
It is apparent that the Lebanese government lacks the moral courage to divest their nation of the insidious Hezbollah terrorists. It is due to this moral cowardice that the sovereignty of Lebanon continues to be threatened from within by a fifth column more loyal to Syria and Iran than to Lebanon herself. Hezbollah and her Shiite allies in Lebanon welcomed wholeheartedly the 30 years of invasion and occupation by the Syrian military. Not a peep was heard from Hezbollah when the Syrians exiled one Lebanese prime minister and murdered another in cold blood. Yet the Lebanese could not bring themselves to oust this threat to their own sovereignty from within.
This deficit of moral courage and fortitude in the Lebanese in the face of Hezbollah treachery has brought upon themselves an inevitable war. The present crisis in the Middle East was ultimately caused by the inability of the Lebanese to take a courageous stand and fight evil. In this they are as much to blame as those providing funding and arms to Hezbollah.
Since Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Hezbollah has intermittently conducted rocket attacks against northern Israel but Israel has always acted with restraint. However, the recent kidnapping of Israeli soldiers is seen as a declaration of war by Israel, a country which reveres it highly disciplined armed forces. It was this initiation of aggression by Hezbollah which has triggered this latest crisis in the Middle East.
Ultimately it is Lebanon which must pay the price for harboring terrorists who pose a threat to herself and neighboring states. Israel’s repeated requests asking that the Lebanese take military control and responsibility for Southern Lebanon fell on deaf ears. It is for this reason that the already emasculated Lebanese military has been reduced to mere spectators as Israel puts on an air show.
Instead of condemning the attacks on Lebanon, the Lebanese government should be thankful that Israel for doing what the Lebanese sought through cowardice to avoid: the elimination of Hezbollah as threat to Lebanese sovereignty.