No Civil War in Lebanon!
A warning to the Trump administration: leave Lebanon alone, lest you create an uncontrollable civil war.
The recent unexpected resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was clarion call to the Middle East region that war could be imminent between the Sunnis and Shi’ites-using their proxies.
Lebanon is a very beautiful country with an interesting mixture of different sects and religions. Once, Lebanon was considered the Switzerland of the Middle East because of its political/financial stability. However, in the 1970’s it transformed into a region of major conflicts. We do not want or need that now! It’s not in anyone’s basic national security interest.
The recent trip by Jared Kushner to Saudi Arabia is believed to have precipitated the sudden, unexpected resignation of the stabilizing presence of Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri. On Sunday Hassan Nasarallah, the head of the one-time terrorist group Hezbollah, stated that Hariri’s resignation was imposed by Saudi Arabia. [Times of Israel, Toi Staff, November 6,2017].
In the past few decades, I have fought against Hezbollah and met with Hezbollah officials in Lebanon. I can assure that Hezbollah has become a legitimate part of the Lebanese army/society. It consists 10K-15K hard-core combatants meticulously trained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard [IRG] in Iran. It would be absolutely self-destructive for Israel or America to consider entering into a war against Hezbollah or Iran.
I have repeatedly stated that Hezbollah/Iran are no threat to our basic national security. In fact, the IRG has fought alongside our own troops against the CIA/ Saudi/Turkey created ISIS in Iraq.
It is believed that Saudi Arabia at the insistence of Jared Kushner/Trump convinced the young Saudi Prince Salaam to fire Hariri because he had a close alliance with Hezbollah in order to form a unity government in Lebanon.
According to the NY Times, November, 5, 2017 [ Anne Bernard]: “… Mr Nasrallah appeared to be ‘trying to de-escalate the situation and contain it’ because the resignation, which leaves Hezbollah without a Sunni governing partner, could strip it of ‘legal and political cover’.
It could also make the Lebanese government more vulnerable to sanctions against the group, which is listed as a terrorist group by the USG.”
During the 1970’s-80’s, I was involved in trying to resolve the ongoing Lebanese War. I pleaded with my colleague in the Reagan Administration, Lawrence Eagleburger, not to send 200+ Marines into Beirut. I knew that they would end up as cannon fodder.
Unless one has been involved in a terrible civil war or a chaotic combat experience, it is very difficult for the ruling political/military elite to determine the proper strategy and tactical course in a civil war. I can say with certainty that the Hezbollah forces of today are far better fighters than they had been decades ago. Unlike the Israeli soldier, the Hezbollah combatant has been fighting/ training consistently during the guerilla/insurgent conflicts in Iraq/Syria for the past ten years. The IDF has extremely talented but young fighters. Nasrallah knows all too well that the next war between Hezbollah and the IDF will be catastrophic for both sides.
Every IDF soldier killed or wounded is the equivalent of 30 US troops. So the last IDF/Hezbollah War on July 12, 2006 located near Zar’it-Shtula , resulted in a 34-day military conflict in Lebanon, near the Golan Heights. That brief conflict is believed to have killed 1,300 Lebanese people and 165 Israelis [equivalent to 4950 US troops]. This invasion into Lebanon displaced over one million Lebanese and 400,000 Israelis. [Wikipedia]. Another 1,244 IDF were wounded [comparable to 37,320 US forces].
I urge the mothers of both sides to refuse to send their respective sons/daughters into a combat which will result in nothing more than a useless bloodbath. If Israel enters into war, then the USG will follow for no good reason other than they are seemingly our best ally. This is not reality given Israel’s past attacks on our Liberty Ship and the 9/11 Mossad-created World Trade Center implosion.
The former Israeli Prime Minister [2006-2009], Ehud Olmert, said the following:
“In Israel we tend to be carried away by our emotions”.
Keep calm and avoid a war!