I go out of town on business for a week and I miss being a current blogging guy with some huge events happening in the Middle East. I had half a post on North Korea and their missile envy done that will now have to wait because Hezbollah decided that they wanted to get in on the hot Gaza action that Hamas was dealing with so they decided to kidnap some Israeli soldiers. Here's why the Lebanese should do what Israel has been trying to do for the past week: eliminate Hezbollah once and for all.
Hezbollah was formed from the Shiite resistance movements in Southern Lebanon in the early 80s, during Israel's ill-founded invasion of Lebanon to try and stabilize the country. They were quickly armed and used by Iran and Syria as a proxy for their interests in the country. Over Hezbollah's 20 year history they've specialized in kidnappings, suicide bombs, and rocket attacks. Nevertheless, after Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, things were pretty quiet with the group. They gained some power in the Lebanese government and fired the occasional rocket at Israel, but for the most part they seemed to behave themselves. Now they have decided that no matter the consequences to their host nation, they'll not give up the Israeli prisoners without a trade for some of their own. Israel has traded prisoners in the past, but it is a terrible policy. It invites kidnappings because your enemies will know that you will cave in when you kidnap their soldiers or citizens. Its why most nations have a policy of not ever negotiating with terrorists - it just invites more terrorist attacks. As a result, Israel has responded with it's largest military operation in years to force Lebanon to get rid of Hezbollah. While there are native Lebanese that make up the group, they don't care about their nation. They are devoted citizens of their cause: liberating Palestine. By liberating Palestine, I don't mean the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel exited Gaza last year and is on their way to leaving most of the West Bank to the Palestinians as a free-standing state with their own government. Nevertheless, Palestine is not just those areas - it's all of Israel. There is no other reason to attack Israel during a time of peace.
We're seeing the results of this on the 24 hour news channels now. Lebanon, after a relatively peaceful 6+ years, is now turning into the morass it was during the 80s. There is now talk of a new multinational force that would come in to southern Lebanon to stabilize the area, which would be just as disastrous as it was when the US was part of the MNF and 241 Marines were killed when a Hezbollah suicide bomber blew up the barracks on the grounds of Rafik Hariri International Airport. Hezbollah has no desire for peace in Lebanon, and that's why the government of Lebanon, as impotent as it may be, needs to mobilize the army to take control of Southern Lebanon. While it could provoke a new round of violence, one thing that the world should have learned now is that we cannot force peace in Lebanon. Well, I take that back. We probably could force peace in Lebanon, but it would involve regime change in both Syria and Iran. Unless Hezbollah's backers are eliminated, Hezbollah will always be able to operate independently in Lebanon. The Lebanese government may be able to persuade them out of the south, but it won't be the result of outside governments waging a proxy war in the nation.
Another key point to look at is why Israel cares so much about getting Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon. If you look at the range of Iranian rockets (which have already struck Haifa and may be able to hit Tel Aviv) and the apparent ease that Iran is having in getting their weapons to Hezbollah, then combine that with the news about Iran's nuclear program, and Israel has every right to be very concerned. Iran doesn't have to develop long-range missiles, they just have to supply their current units to Hezbollah along with some nuclear munitions and suddenly Israel's largest city is wiped out. That's Israel's worst nightmare and it's why Israel has a retaliatory nuclear arsenal that they are willing to use. Unfortunately a deterrant only works with an enemy who will be deterred. These radical Islamic groups have already shown that they don't value their lives. What matters is the glorification of their twisted view of Islam. "Allah would like to see Israel destroyed, and if it costs the lives of 4.5 million Syrians and 7 million Iranians, then it is His will." I can say right now that that isn't His will, and I'm not even a Muslim, but try telling that to the Mullahs and Bashir Assad.