Wednesday, March 02, 2005

What Will Happen To Hezbollah When Syria Leaves Lebanon?

The recent world pressure on Syria to exit Lebanon may have unintended consequences. I found a letter on NR Online to Jonah Goldberg from a Lebanese Christian living in Lebanon that is pretty mich right on in my estimation and mostly is a good thing.

MORE HEZBOLLAH [Jonah Goldberg]
I've gotten several emails along these lines:

Dear Jonah,
I read about you asking for an argument as to why Hezbollah would not control Lebanon if Syria withdraws. I am Christian Lebanese and here is my take:
1- Syrian presence is not keeping Hezbollah in check but is giving it a role beyond its natural size.
2- The support of Hizbollah is limited to a part of the Shiite community which has a plurality but is still a minority in Lebanon.
3- Any attempt by Hizbollah to expand beyond Shiite areas will unite all Lebanese against it. Hizballah knows that the West will arm the Christians and Druze against Hezbollah in such an event. Hezbollah will never attempt such a thing.
4- Most Hezbollah supporters are not interested in living under Islamic law but only in the social benefits Hezbollah gives them and which is paid for by Iran. Hezbollah gave up enforcing Islamic law even in areas it controls. It's all about money. If the money flow is turned off, Hezbollah will shrink to a fraction of its size.
5- The Lebanese Parliament has 128 seats divided 64-64 Christian-Muslim. On the muslim half, the Shiites get only 27 seats. This the theoretical ceiling of Shiite power. Today they only have 12 seats.
6- In a free Lebanon, Hezbollah will not have the power to continue its fight against Israel. The Christians will call for peace with Israel. The Druze and Sunnis will say not before peace in Israel-Palestine is achieved. But Christians, Druze, and Sunnis will oppose Hezbollah exposing Lebanon to Israeli retaliation. The net result will be the return to 1949 armistice agreement. It is the Syrian presence that allowed Hezbollah go against the will of the majority. Without Syria, Hezbollah's hands are tied.
Thank You