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Hezbollah’s Big Day

Others chanted “Ahmed Fatfat is a Jew,” referring to the minister of sports and youth, who had been acting interior minister. Long live people power and all that. So Sheik Hassan Nasrallah convinces his followers and the quisling pro-Syrian factionalists … Read More

By / December 1, 2006

Others chanted “Ahmed Fatfat is a Jew,” referring to the minister of sports and youth, who had been acting interior minister.

Long live people power and all that. So Sheik Hassan Nasrallah convinces his followers and the quisling pro-Syrian factionalists who've made common cause with him — like Gen. Michel Aoun, a former exiled reformist and Christian leader of the Patriotic Free Movement — to demonstrate peacefully today and wave only the cedar flag of Lebanon, not Hezbollah's more evocative yellow and green ensign of a fist clutching a Kalashnikov. Still, chants like the one cited above were pretty par for the course even as the protesters made their central plaint "clean" government. The Lebanese blogsophere was having none of this bullshit, however — an encouraging sign if the internet is any kind of bellwether for popular opinion. Beirut's Daily Star newspaper shows how stupid and sinister these protesters really are:

Other popular slogans included: "100 percent! 100 percent! 100 percent! We are the majority!" and "We withstood and fought for our country, and won't let anyone shut us up!"

More like 25%, but who's counting?

I will say this: It was very clever indeed of Nasrallah to offer such a funhouse mirror image of the March 14 opposition rally of last year, which put a (possibly temporary) end to Syrian occupation. Hezbollah is, after all, angling for political dominance and realignment with Damascus. Today's massive outpouring of support for such an outcome makes the summer's devastating war with Israel seem even more calculated and deliberate.

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt is quite right to call the day's events tantamount to an attempted coup.

Jumblatt called on Hizbullah and Amal ministers who resigned in November to return to the Cabinet in order to "confirm their support for the international tribunal, for Resolution 1701 and for the Paris III donor conference."

The fact that they won't only underscores Hezbollah's real intent, to stoke and profit from domestic indignation at a time when international justice is near at hand.

If things disintegrate even further, and Syria is "invited" back into Lebanon in the event of a Hezbollah takeover, then the U.S. should consider a rapid withdrawal of forces from Iraq — and redeploy them to Beirut, where it's not too late to save a gasping democracy.

 

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