Ten years on, the war on Lebanon continues
Decentralization would help prevent Hezbollah from blackmailing government and institutions with its weapons
We commemorate the 10th anniversary of the war triggered by Hezbollah on July 12, 2006, which led to Israel destroying parts of Lebanon’s infrastructure and Iran tightening its grip on the country. Hezbollah still believes it achieved a “divine victory” over Israel, in a war that effectively ended with the party triumphing over both Lebanon and its people.
This is epitomized by the country’s deteriorating economy and presidential vacuum, amid increasing calls to scrap the Taif Agreement, which divided everything equally between Muslims and Christians and maintains a national balance, thus preserving the rights of all religions. Decentralization would help prevent Hezbollah from blackmailing government and institutions with its weapons.
The 2006 war marked a turning point in Lebanon’s history. It proved that it is not about a single battle in which Lebanese can deter their enemy, like what happened when they threw out Syrian forces in 2005.
The war against the country is ongoing, and will continue to do so as long as Tehran is determined to put Beirut under its full guardianship, as is the case with Baghdad and Damascus, and as would have been the case with Sanaa had it not been for Operation Decisive Storm.
The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on Feb. 14, 2005, did not make the Lebanese people give up. However, the more they resisted the custodianship of Hezbollah and Iran, the more the attacks on their small country increased, to make them believe that it is not their right to be free.
It is as if they have to act like sheep and believe in empty slogans. They are prohibited from questioning their reality, such as why young Lebanese men are dying in Syria defending the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
After the 2006 war, Hezbollah unsurprisingly and suddenly forgotten who stood by Lebanon and helped rebuild it. The party forgot the Saudi role and the circumstances that led to the end of the war, not to mention the efforts exerted by Lebanon’s then-government headed by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
The war against the country is ongoing, and will continue to do so as long as Tehran is determined to put Beirut under its full guardianship, as is the case with Baghdad and DamascusKhairallah Khairallah
Hezbollah’s announcement of its triumph in that war was nothing but a victory sign over the corpse of what they still called Lebanon. Israel did not mind the declaration of victory because it achieved some of its objectives in UN Security Council 1701.
However, Hezbollah’s use of missiles targeting “Haifa and what is beyond Haifa” made Israel reconsider its aim of keeping its border with Lebanon a bleeding wound, which is what Iran and Syria want in order to keep using Lebanon and its people. How long will Israel maintain the status quo, which has seen the longest period of truce with Lebanon since the signing of the Cairo Agreement in 1969.
Ever since its victory over Lebanon in the 2006 war, Hezbollah has humiliated the Lebanese people by all means, starting with the sit-in in downtown Beirut to destroy the country’s economy and displace the largest possible number of its youth, to the invasion of the capital in May 2008, to the present day. Besides the economic situation, Lebanon is witnessing an unprecedented presidential vacuum and Arab isolation.
Hezbollah and Iran are keen to deter Arabs, and especially Gulf tourists, from visiting and investing in Lebanon. Moreover, the party insists on getting involved in the war waged by the Syrian Alawite regime under Israeli and Russian cover, due to deep-rooted understandings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hezbollah does all this to please Iran while disregarding Lebanese suffering.
The 10th anniversary of the 2006 war comes at a time when the region has completely changed. The Syria we knew no longer exists. Nor does Iraq. Turkey has normalized relations with Israel and Russia, while the Palestinian cause is almost forgotten.
What has not changed in the region is the ongoing war on Lebanon and its people. How long will it remain a target of an expansionist project that has nothing to do with the Lebanese, and that only seeks to destroy Arab countries and societies?
This article was first published in Al-Arab Online on July 13, 2016.
Khairallah Khairallah is an Arab columnist who was formerly Annahar's foreign editor (1976-1988) and Al-Hayat's managing editor (1988-1998).