July 10, 2006, - 4:23 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Today’s Wall Street Journal has a disturbing, but predictable, front-page piece on Hezbollah. And yet another headline that says it all:
Mideast Democracy: One Violent Group Finds It Works Just Fine: Joining Lebanese Government Helps Hezbolllah to Resist U.S. Demands to Disarm; Firing Rockets Into Israel, Too
In January, I wrote about my view that democracy in the Muslim Mid-East will only solidify terrorist groups like HAMAS and Hezbollah. And I was right.
The WSJ article details how Bush’s push for “democracy” and free elections in the Mid-East has strengthened more than ever the terrorist group that murdered 300 U.S. Marines and civilians.
(The article mentions the scary alliance between Hezbollah and former Christian leader Michel Aoun, which I detailed here in February. The Aounyeens are a very small group of the Maronite Christian pie in Lebanon, most of whom would never break bread with Hezbollah. Ever.)
Here are some of the scary, but foreseeable details, as reported by the WSJournal on Mid-East Democracy, Hezbollah-Style:
Today, it’s [Hezbollah] stronger than ever. The group, once disdainful of domestic politics, filled the power vacuum of Syria’s departure by joining Lebanon’s governing coalition. That has given Hezbollah new clout, including control over two ministries.
It also has helped the group elude a big threat: international pressure, led by the U.S. and France, to disarm. Over the past year “Hezbollah built a big shield over its military wing,” says Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, a professor at the Lebanese American University.
How the militant [DS: that means terrorist] group turned adversity to opportunity reveals a conundrum for the Bush administration: Rather than resisting Washington’s democracy drive, some radical Islamic groups, including organizations the U.S. deems terrorist, are using it to promote their agendas. . . .
The top priority, says [Hezbollah Political Director Nawar] Saheli, was derailing the international effort to disarm. . . . The number of seats Hezbollah could win in Parliament was limited by Lebanon’s complex power-sharing formula. Even so, Mr. Saheli sensed the value of producing a big voter turnout for Hezbollah. The group’s campaign efforts in effect turned into a referendum on whether it should be able to keep its armed military wing.
During the three-week campaign, Mr. Saheli says, he visited up to 15 villages a day. Skipping other issues such as education, he hammered a single theme: Protect “the resistance [to Israel].” . . . Often, he says, he ended speeches with a harangue against the U.S. “The Americans have a big project against the Arab world. . . . And we must resist.
Voters, especially in Shiite-dominated areas, loved it. When the results came in June 2005, Hezbollah and a few parties it had aligned with were huge winners, taking the maximum 35 parliamentary seats available to Shiite Muslims.
Though Hezbollah had fielded candidates in previous elections, it had always remained an opposition party. this time, Mr. Saheli and his bloc accepted an invitation to join a coalition government. They asked for two important ministries, energy and labor.
And they made another demand: that all major government decisions, including the question of Hezbollah’s weapons, be decided through consensual agreement rather than by a straight vote of the cabinet ministers. Coalition partners–the biggest was the Future Movement, led by a son of the slain Mr. Hariri–needed Shiite representation in their government, and agreed to the conditions. That gave Hezbollah the power to veto just about anything it opposed.
Just as I wrote back in January, and have always believed. This is the Mid-East, not the Mid-West (as Israeli Moshe Arens so famously said). We cannot expect that democracy will mean the end of terrorism there. We can only expect that it will mean the enhancement of it and its threat to us, here, on our shores.
Hezbollah killed more Americans than any other terrorist group besides Al-Qaeda, and it is part of the Al-Qaeda network, training insurgent terrorists against our troops in Iraq and providing them explosives, as well as joining Qaeda in the Khobar Towers bombing.
And its status as a proxy for Iran against us, as well as its threat to our ally Israel, are now greater than ever. Reports the WSJournal:
Amid tension over Iran’s nuclear facilities, Hezbollah also draws scrutiny because it has close ties to Iran. Hezbollah has an estimated 15,000 missiles pointed at Israel from land it controls in southern Lebanon. Some U.S. and Israeli officials worry that if there ever were a military confrontation between the West and Iran, Hezbollah could become a proxy for Iran and step up attacks on Israel. . . .
The risk was underscored in late May as Israel and Hezbollah had their most ferocious skirmish in years. Hezbollah fired rockets into northern Israel and hit a military base [DS: and constantly shells Israeli civilians and residential areas, too] . . . . “Hezbollah is a big nightmare for us,” says an Israeli military commander, Lt. Col. Ishai Efroni.
A nightmare made ever bigger by the Bush push for “democracy” in a Muslim Mid-East that uses it to foment more terror on the innocent.
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