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February 19, 2005
Hezbollah Sticks Up For Syrian Occupiers

The terrorist group Hezbollah, or "political party" according to the French, warned their Lebanese countrymen to stop criticizing their Syrian partners or face another outbreak of civil war:

Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Saturday that popular agitation against Syria's grip on Lebanon after the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri could plunge the country back into civil war. ...

"Today we are responsible for a nation that came out of the civil war ... but we face acute problems, especially this year and in the past few months," the black-turbaned cleric declared. "As Lebanese, we have no choice for remedying our crises and problems except to discuss and meet, even if we are angry and tense," he said. "We must not repeat the mistakes of the past."

Hezbollah has reason to worry that any civil war sparked by anti-Syrian sentiment will necessarily wind up as Hezbollah vs. The Rest Of Lebanon. The terrorist group may have become a "formidable" political party, as this Reuters report by Alistair Lyon writes, but they clearly have Syrian and Iranian interests in mind. That may have played to a few before -- especially since Syria held the whip hand in Lebanon -- but after the assassination of Rafik Hariri and the widespread collateral damage, Lebanon has united against the Syrians like never before.

That bodes ill for the long-term prospects for Hezbollah. The terrorist group was the only militia that Syria allowed to remain armed after the end of the civil war, which demonstrates their close connection to the occupation. In the present climate of universal fury against Syria, that connections will not pass unnoticed by the Lebanese. Syria may yet pull out of Lebanon, but clearly they hoped to leave behind a reasonably strong Hezbollah as military cover for their continued political dominance. Now it's more likely that Hezbollah might wind up against the wall if the Lebanese chase the Syrians back to Damascus.

If that happens, will the Europeans -- especially the French -- act to help free the Lebanese from the Syrian/Iranian interference of Hezbollah? Or will they continue the farce of considering Hezbollah a native Lebanese political party while the terrorists attempt to take up the Syrian military mission?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 19, 2005 7:16 AM

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