W. Thomas Smith, Jr

Hezbollah – Iran’s Lebanon-based terrorist legion – may have bitten off more than it can chew in its recent attacks against pro-government forces in Lebanon. They’ve certainly underestimated the tenacity of the latter as evidenced by the underreported head-to-head thrashing Hezbollah is getting in-and-around the Chouf Mountain region, southeast of Beirut. Nevertheless, Hezbollah should never have been able to get away with what it has over the past week; or for that matter, the past 25 years.

Problem is, the legitimate government of Lebanon has given Hezbollah’s dogs too much rope since the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1990, and the legitimate Lebanese army has done virtually nothing to disarm Hezbollah despite the will of the majority of the Lebanese people. Nor has the army (which has received $millions in support from the U.S.) made any substantive attempt to crush the recent terror offensive which began last week after Hezbollah surveillance cameras were discovered at Beirut International Airport, and the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora called for the dismantling of Hezbollah’s extensive telecommunications network.

Hezbollah should have long been disarmed under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701, which call for the disarming of all militias in Lebanon. But the Shiia terrorist group – which receives training and financing by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (approximately $ one-billion, annually, in giant bags stuffed with American cash smuggled over the unchecked Syrian-Lebanese border) and operational support from Syria – says it is not a militia, but a “resistance.” And both the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Gen. Michel Sleiman, and his chief of intelligence, told me in one-on-one meetings last fall, “Hezbollah is a resistance against foreign aggression, and it was here before the army.”

So in the eyes of the senior commander of the legitimate army: Hezbollah has a right – and should continue to have that right – to exist as an Iranian-Syrian proxy army serving an illegitimate Shiia state – the kingdom of Hezbollah – within the sovereign territory of the legitimate state, Lebanon.

That is precisely what we have here, and because of that perceived right – which flies in the face of UN convention – Hezbollah is literally getting away with murder under the guise of “resistance” against foreign aggression.

W. Thomas Smith, Jr

W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor. He is the author of six books, and he has covered war and conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq, and Lebanon. Visit him online at http://www.uswriter.com.
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