W. Thomas Smith, Jr

Hezbollah – the Lebanon-based terrorist organization – has scored another victory: This one, political.

It’s barely been a week since Hezbollah’s campaign of terror against the Lebanese people ended with a victory for the Shiia terrorist group, its allies, and its Iranian and Syrian backers. The campaign was launched May 7 after the legitimate Lebanese government attempted to fire Beirut International Airport’s security chief – who was discovered to be Hezbollah – then tried to shut down Hezbollah's covert telecommunications system.

Hezbollah won its battle by killing civilians and burning property. The government – which vowed it would never surrender – caved. It did so for a variety of reasons, but primarily because the Lebanese Army refused to fight: not the rank-and-file soldiers mind you (some of the toughest and bravest I've ever encountered), but the commander in chief, Gen. Michel Sleiman, who ironically is probably going to wind up in the presidential palace.

When the fighting subsided and Hezbollah began withdrawing from its captured positions, last week, nearly 70 people were dead, scores wounded, and many left homeless. Hezbollah’s security chief got to keep his job at the airport. The unauthorized telecommunications system was given a pass. And Hezbollah's Talibanesque political and military position was strengthened.

Keep in mind, all “militias” in Lebanon were directed by the United Nations to be disbanded under UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701.

In fact, 1701 specifically directs:

“Full implementation of the relevant provisions … that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state.”

But Hezbollah has been able to skirt the “militia” and “armed groups” labeling by calling itself a “resistance [against foreign aggression].” Problem is the near-70 people who were killed as a result of Hezbollah’s attacks this month were not foreigners, and the neighborhoods and villages shot-up, rocketed, and burned, and the roads seized were all inside sovereign Lebanese territory. At a minimum, the United Nations Implementation Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) should have kept the air and seaports opened per its authority under 1701. But UNIFIL did absolutely nothing while the world watched.

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.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read W. Thomas Smith's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.