Friday, May 9, 2008

Hezbollah Gunmen Take Over Parts of Lebanese Capitol

The new fighting threatens to re-engulf the nation in civil war:
Hizbollah swept through major areas of Beirut in an overnight push that resulted in the deaths of 11 and forced Lebanese MPs out of the capital.


[...]

But the army has largely avoided getting involved in the street battles, preferring to remain above the political fray for fear of being dragged into the conflict. The institution could break up on sectarian lines if it takes on the powerful Hizbollah, which survived a war with Israel in 2006.
As if the Shiite terrorist group wasn't bad enough, it appears they're getting help from a neighboring terror sponsor:
Dozens of fighters from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, a Hizbollah ally, also appeared in the streets off Hamra, some masked and carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
As time has shown, a conflict anywhere in the Middle East involves all Arabs, particularly when it breaks down to Pro-West/Anti-West lines. As the Arab world looks for some sort of resolution, Bush rattles sabers:

“Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere," U.S. President George W. Bush said in a speech in the United Arab Emirates in January. "So the United States is strengthening our longstanding security commitments with our friends in the Gulf and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late.”

In the same speech, Bush also accused Iran of exporting terror. He did not have to specify for his audience the destinations. Washington has often charged Iran and Syria with helping to arm the Lebanese Shi’ite Hizballah and of using it to destabilize the Western-leaning government in Beirut.

Fortunately, some countries are calling for an Arab meeting to discuss the situation, although I have some doubts as to how effective they will be.

Egypt and Jordan voiced support for an Arab meeting.

"Egypt and other Arab countries are very concerned by the actions of Hezbollah in Lebanon," an Egyptian diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"A party backed by Iran cannot be allowed to take control of the running of Lebanon.

"The situation today in Lebanon is 10 times worse than it was yesterday and we are very concerned at what is happening, because that means that Iran wants to control the country."

President Shimon Peres of Israel - whose country fought a war against Hezbollah in 2006 - claimed the violence was fomented by arch foe Iran to further what he said was Tehran's goal to control all the Middle East.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose country long dominated its smaller neighbour, said the political crisis there was an "internal matter" and called for it to be resolved through dialogue.

A statement by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said he was "profoundly worried" at the fighting and said the rival factions should start a dialogue to overcome their differences.

Jordan also backed the proposal for a foreign ministers meeting in order to "bring to an end the political crisis and restore calm," Foreign Minister Salah Bashir said in a statement to news state agency Petra.

Yemen contacted rival Lebanese factions and regional governments outlining an alternative plan involving mandating Lebanon's army chief Michel Sleiman to chair a dialogue to halt the fighting, the state Saba news agency reported.

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