Die Wacht am Litani
Right after the Iraqi Study Group report's recommendation to engage Syria and Iran was released, and immediately after Robert Gates was overwhelmingly confirmed as the Secretary of Defense, and in the wake of a chorus proclaiming the need to build bridges in the Middle East, you'd think someone was listening. And somebody was. The AP/Breitbart reports:
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah promised thousands of supporters Thursday that they would eventually bring down Lebanon's Western-backed government ... In a rousing speech delivered on huge screens in two central Beirut squares, Nasrallah accused Saniora of conniving with Israel during its monthlong war with Hezbollah last summer. He claimed Saniora ordered the Lebanese army to confiscate Hezbollah's supplies of weapons -- his sharpest attack on the prime minister since the August cease-fire that ended the fighting.
"Didn't the prime minister of Lebanon work to cut off the supply lines?" Nasrallah said. He added that government officials had asked American envoys to persuade Israel to destroy Hezbollah. "Those are the ones responsible for the war, not the resistance," Nasrallah said.
Nasrallah said protests would continue until Hezbollah's demands are met. But he also said he was prepared to negotiate and that the Shiite guerrillas would use arms only against Israelis. "We are a people that will not be defeated in the battle of wills," he said to roars from the crowd. "We will not leave the streets before achieving the goal that saves Lebanon. ...We will not lift our weapons in the face of anyone," Nasrallah said. "We will defeat you with our voices.
Nasrallah is openly accusing Saniora of attempting to abide by UN resolutions to cut off the arming of a foreign army on Lebanese soil -- something UNIFIL is supposed to prevent, if UNIFIL can be found -- and simultaneously admitting by implication the existence of a Ho Chi Minh trail into southern Lebanon. For those who want a Vietnam reference, there's one.
Saniora's allies have accused Hezbollah of being influenced by Iran and Syria, which they claim want to destabilize Lebanon by supporting the militant group's plans to oust the government.
Saniora's allies. But where is the UN? Where are the French led UNIFIL troops, the ones armed with LeClerc AFVs, the ones with SAMs all ready to open fire on Israeli aircraft? Don't worry, the Sudan -- Osama Bin Laden's former home -- is on the job. And he has advice for the Lebanese government. Why don't they "listen" to Hezbollah?
A Sudanese envoy, who arrived in Beirut on Thursday for talks with the rival factions, said the street protests should end, but supported the opposition's call for a broader-based government. "The basis of a solution must be founded on the formation of a national unity government and withdrawal of dialogue from the street to parliament," said Mustafa Osman Ismail, the envoy of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.