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July 30, 2006
Thanks For All That Death And Destruction

Fuad Saniora apparently wants to make it difficult for people to remain sympathetic to Lebanon, or perhaps he just has the worst case of Stockholm Syndrome since Patty Hearst. Whatever the reason, Saniora made it clear that he will not have the stomach for disarming Hezbollah as required by the UN Security Council as he praised their "defense" of Lebanon:

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuoad Siniora expressed his 'gratitude' to Hizbullah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah for "sacrificing their lives for the country."

During a press conference held in wake of the Qana village incident in which 55 Lebanese were killed, Siniora asked: "Is Israel's mission to wipe out the Lebanese? It seems they want to kill all of us. One of those killed today is a baby just one day old. With its aggression, Israel is encouraging extremism." ...

Siniora repeatedly stressed his desire to reach a ceasefire, and called on the UN Security Council to meet immediately and act on the issue.

The Lebanese prime minister added that he esteems those who fell in "the defense of Lebanon,"' and said that his government is doing everything to strengthen its stance. He even expressed his "full admiration for Nasrallah and all those who sacrifice their lives for Lebanon."

Under any rational view of the situation, Saniora should decry the deliberate sacrifice of southern Lebanon and its denizens to the radical terrorism of Hezbollah -- that is, if Saniora didn't sympathize with Hezbollah's aims. It appears that he does, which calls into question the notion that Lebanon itself isn't primarily responsible for this act of war, and isn't getting the response it deserves.

We already know that Lebanon has ultimate responsibility for acts carried out by militias it tolerates on its land, but the assumption was that Saniora didn't disband Hezbollah out of inability. Statements such as these make it appear that Saniora didn't want to disband Hezbollah under any circumstances. That makes Saniora more overtly responsible for the act of war, and it frees Israel to target Lebanese military assets on a much broader basis.

Israel won't do that, and for good reasons, even if Saniora deserves it. Ehud Olmert can beat Hezbollah by making it clear to the Lebanese that supporting the terrorists come at too high a price. Once they get the message, Lebanon has to have enough capability left to eject Hezbollah and strip them of their weapons. If Israel crushes the Lebanese army, Hezbollah will not only never get disarmed, but they may just conduct a coup and take over Beirut altogether.

It's a tough balancing act. However, if Saniora continues to salute Hassan Nasrallah and his terrorists, the Israelis will discount Saniora altogether and conclude that he wants to be part of the problem and not the solution. At that point, the Lebanese may find a much wider war on their hands.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 30, 2006 7:27 PM

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