Saturday, July 15, 2006

Meanwhile the Situation Worsens Dramatically For Anti-Hezbollah Lebanese

A Lebanese family fording a river after IAF warplanes attacked
and damaged a bridge near Marjayoun on Thursday.

Lebanon.Profile is reporting that Israel is about to bomb or has already bombed downtown Beirut, and is dropping fliers in and near the American University of Beirut.
Israel just dropped fliers on the American University of Beirut campus and in the surrounding neighborhood.

The fliers are in English and say something to the extent of:

"The Lebanese people protect Hezbollah and will face consequences. Please, get out of Beirut."

This is from a 16 year old Lebanese American playing soccer on the field at International College next to the AUB dorms who told a friend who told me.

This is where I live.

Jesus Christ, it sounds like they just bombed a building behind me. That's the downtown!
He is becoming a refugee and heading to Syria, the last place he wanted to go.

Guess what? I'm leaving. Yep. Me.

Where am I going? Syria. Didn't want to, but I have to. The people we marched against are the ones you sent us begging to. The people who assassinated our leaders, kept us from having an operating democracy, and who armed Hezbollah are laughing it up because they've won the game because of you.

Bashar Assad said Lebanon would be destroyed if he left. I didn't know the Israelis would play into his game. It's not surprising that Syrian-allied Hezbollah started the mess, but you guys are just vicious.

All my Hezbollah supporting friends are sticking around. They call the rest of us cowards. I guess we are. We want to do scientific research. We want our children to learn how to play the piano. We want to watch our stock porfolios burgeon. We can't do that here any more.

I tried to sympathize with you. I didn't support Hezbollah, and if you look at the posts before this conflict began, I was maligning the political parties that oppose Hezbollah for not doing enough.

I even gave you guys the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of this, as did most Lebanese. Even the Shia, Christians, and Druze in South Lebanon understood your position. Not any more.

Oh, well. I'm a refugee.
I've been worrying about precisely this outcome since the beginning of this confrontation. When the decent people, whose lives are effected this way, begin to hate Israel, it's simply tragic.

I don't see the option for ISrael to stop now, because if it does, Hezbollah will simply claim a propaganda victory for itself, and the whole thing will have to happen all over again.

But a renewal of the animus between decent Lebanese and Israelis - instead of an effort to work for peace, stability, prosperity and democracy - is a terrible reality.

And Michael Totten checks in from wherever he is to say the following:
The dictators in the region have always been happy to fight the Israelis to the last Palestinian. Now it looks like they're happy to fight the Israelis to the last Lebanese, too. And why not? Lebanon is a relatively liberal and almost half Christian sort-of democracy. Can't have any of that in the region if you're a totalitarian mullah. It suits Tehran just fine if the Jews slug it out with such people.

Bashar al-Assad promised to make Lebanon burn if his Syrian occupation soldiers were forced out of the country. No doubt he is ecstatic at this latest turn of events. His principal enemies are killing each other instead of teaming up against him like they would in a better and more intelligent world.

Israel and Lebanon are the two freest countries in the Middle East. They are the only countries, aside from tortured Iraq, that hold unrigged elections for parliaments and heads of state. The tyrants to their east have pulled quite a coup, haven't they? The two countries friendliest to America and to liberal Western values are now shooting each other. (The Lebanese army, which has cooperated with Israel in the past behind the scenes, is now firing anti-aircraft guns at Israeli planes.)

It's a catastrophe for Lebanon, which is now under siege because Iran took it hostage. It's a catastrophe for Israel, which could have, and should have, worked toward a peace process with the Lebanese. Lebanese are (were?) far and away the most likely of all Arabs to sign a genuine treaty at some point down the road. And it's a catastrophe for the United States. We have few friends in the region already, none of whom get along well with each other as it is.

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