Saturday, May 10, 2008

Has Nasrallah played his last card?

Hezbollah are on the streets of Beirut, taking control of the whole of the western half, including Sunni areas.

Hezbollah's guns have been turned on Lebanese of all varieties who do not agree with them.

This is crucial because all militias were disarmed after the Taif accords of 1989 except Hezbollah who kept theirs as they were a resistance movement to Israel's occupation of Southern Lebanon which only finished in 2000. The basis on which they kept their guns was that they were for resistance against Israel and would not be used against Lebanese. Even then of course the fact that they had the guns even if they were not to be used against Lebanese does not mean they are not able to intimidate.

Prior to the 2006 Israeli Hezbollah summer war pressure was growing
on Sheik Nasrallah to disarm, and the cynics* amongst you may wonder if that war was not engineered to maintain an excuse for keeping the guns.

After the war Hezbollah could sell themselves as being victorious and so ensure that they kept their guns. It worked. Ehud Olmert fell straight into Nasrallah's trap.

The thing is that Nasrallah has done what he said he would not do which is to use those guns which were held solely for resistance against his own people. (By that I mean Shia, Sunni Druse and Christian who are not on his side). he has broken his agreement and now the political pressure will grow to disarm Hezbollah. It will take a lot of time, but it will happen. Legitimate resistance is no longer an excuse as those guns have now been misused.

*Well, to be fair you don't need to be much of a cynic to think that.

The BBC has this.

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