Hezbo: I want my...I want my...
The Lebanese army seized a truckload of weapons meant for Hezbollah/Hizbullah. Hezbo is demanding the weapons be returned. Why not? If I were in Hezbo's shoes, I would ask for the same. If you think that demand is galling and goes beyond chutzpah (Yiddish for Nasrallah) you are not on top of things.
This is Sidon/Saida from a few days ago (Daily Star Feb 5):
SIDON: Wanted Jund al-Sham militants occupied a preschool in the volatile Taamir neighborhood on Sunday to demand compensation for being forced to flee their homes for fear of capture, less than two weeks after the Lebanese Army deployed in the area after a 30-year absence. Around 15 members of the militant group stormed the headquarters of the Children's Library Association, which is affiliated with the Hariri Foundation in Sidon.Let me recap for the incredulous amongst you. Jund-al-Sham is an outlawed Islamist illegal criminal group of thugs with ZERO constituency in Lebanon. Even Syria would not publicly defend these al-Qaeda types.
The army, who should have moved against those criminals years ago, is still hesitating to take them on. According to Patricia Khoder in L'Orient (Feb 8, sorry no link), the army near Taamir is being spat on and pelted with stones when not outright fired upon. (I'll try to blog separately on this later).
NOW GET THIS: these freaks are fleeing their homes for fear the army arrest them, and want compensation for running away from the law. They then take over a school and DEMAND compensation from the government who has yet to arrest them???? Does it get more ABSURD than this, even for Lebanon?
Hezbollah's demands are very mild by those standards. I am now thinking of asking the minister of culture to read me a book and then shine my shoes while at it. Hell, why not? The governmentS, this one and all previous ones, have brought it on themselves. And I mean going back to the 1960s.
Back to Hezbo's situation.
When the political discourse/culture has forever brought everything back to the destructive and catastrophic obsession with Israel(*) that got us decades of "resistance is sacred etc", with little definition of what that means. We got "right-to-arms" for the "resistance" in the government declaration, and of course Hezbollah is now using all of that to re-claim its confiscated weapons. Now those are illegal under a variety of UN resolutions and Taif etc...
The army and government are doing the right thing, finally standing up to Nasrallah and his thugs on the weapons issue. I guess better-late-than-never, and you have to start somewhere. However, Hezbo does have an opening with the government official stance of Hezbo as "resistance", a reminder that words matter and that expediency will kill you in Lebanon, every time.
Furthermore, the above mentioned demented culture requires that for the government/army to do their job, they need to trumpet that the confiscated weapons will be used to fight Israel . Great! We need to publicly state that the very same RPG found on the truck, not some other one, will be fired at Israel? The gods of Arab political correctness will be appeased and the average Joe will pretend not to notice that weapons, like money, are fungible.
Well at least it's a start. Another flower to Milquetoast Seniora/Sanioura and his government (I am on a roll): According to L'Orient-LeJour of February 7 (or 8) Seniora is trying to get the army an extra-month's pay (for being over-stretched and somewhat doing its job).
Politically that is very smart. It shows support and appreciation for the army and it drives a wedge between the army and Lahoud/Hezbollah. Lahoud refuses to sign the bonus pay because it comes from an "illegal" government and so the troops cannot help but resent him. Good move Fouad, for a change. This is how you maneuver and try to peel support away from your opposition.
We need more of the aggressive and smart moves and much, much, less of the idiotic rhetoric of the past. (More on Taamir later.)
* Note to the knee-jerkers: I am NOT saying "there is no problem with Israel"