Hizballah Returns to Parliament

"Wary of Western involvement in the campaign, the demand prompted Hezbollah and Amal’s five ministers to suspend their participation in the Government for almost two months.

Although largely precipitated by differences over international involvement in local affairs, the stand-off soon morphed into national issues, and the ministers refused to return until the Government provided assurances it officially viewed Hezbollah as a resistance group and not a militia, thereby placing it outside the scope of Resolution 1559. The impasse ended on Thursday, when Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told the Beirut parliament: "We have never called, and will never call, the resistance by any name other than the resistance." He did not use the word militia. "  The Australian


It seems that the Franco-American effort to use UN Resolution 1559 as a weapon against the Baathi government of Syria has hit a snag in the river.  As I have opined here before, there is an ongoing struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for the "position" of "protector" and hegemon in Syria.  Saudi Arabia was aligned with the French and Americans against Bashar, his family and friends, until Bashar offered them his feudal loyalty in return for protection from the "foreigners."  The new Saudi message to the Bush Administration was then delivered in several ways.  The message was that Bashar’s government should be left alone and not pushed any farther and that the Shia Hizballah allies of Bashar’s government should not be forced to disarm.

Why would they press for that?

Hizballah and the Syrian Baath are allies of Iran.  How better to incline them toward Saudi Arabia than to speak up for them before the "throne of power?"

Fouad Siniora, the prime minister of Lebanon is a long term fixture in the Hariri family "apparat" in Lebanon.  He was Rafik Hariri’s Finance Minister among other things.  He is widely understood to be a "stand in" for the Hariri influence in the country, and is, in fact, a member of their political bloc.  The Hariri bloc is closely aligned with Saudi Arabia.

Now Siniora has made commitments that seem to block the prosecution of suspects in the Hariri murder who were Syria’s friends.  He did this by dropping his demand for an international tribunal to try the culprits. He has also said that Hizballah is a "national resistance movement" which by definition will not be required to disarm.

Looks like a "clean sweep" for the Franco-American policy in the Levant.  Score: 0

Pat Lang


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