Sunday, May 26, 2013

Both your houses...

A major battle is under way for control of the Syrian town of al Qusayr near the Lebanese border between the forces of the Assad regime and the anti-regime forces.  This is a strategic town since it controls the road leading to the Syrian coastal strip that contains the majority of the population of Alawites in Syria, that support Assad who is also Alawite.  While the opposition forces took control of al Qasayr some while ago, the presence of thousands of Hizbollah troops on the Government side has turned the battle towards the regime.  Hizbollah no longer denies its forces are fighting in Syria for Assad, and they had a public funeral yesterday for ca. 36 of their fighters who were killed in the battle. 
This involvement of Hizbollah has several implications:  The EU is considering whether or not to classify Hizbollah as a terrorist organization, or at least its military wing.  Germany, Britain and France all consider Hizbollah a terrorist organization and have called for the EU to do likewise.  Given Hizbollah's Secty, Gen. Hassan Nasrallah's comments and their slogans in a terlevize speech and meeting yesterday, such as "we will raze Haifa and Tel Aviv to the ground," it would be surprising if the EU did not take this action.  It is forbidden under Lebanese law for any Lebanese force to fight outside Lebanon without the Lebanese Government's approval.  However, Hizbollah is in the Government, and is a law unto itself.  Its intervention in Syria has caused strains inside Lebanon, and in Tripoli the Sunni Muslims are fighting the local Alawites in parallel to the Syrian civil war.  The Lebanese army has been sent to restore order there, but at least 26 people were killed in the fighting.  We can expect a resumption of the tragic civil was in Lebanon, that has never overcome its sectarian divisions. 
Meanwhile the Syrian death toll mounts, now supposedly at 90,000, while the international community is deadlocked into inaction.  They will have another conference soon in Geneva to discuss the situation, but nothing can expected to come from it.  The fighting in Syria is close to the Israeli border and bullets and shells occasionally come over the border.  So far Israel has done little about this, although the IAF did strike a convoy and a storage facility for rockets in Syria.  The basic Israeli attitude is neutrality, we don't want an extreme Sunni government to replace the Assad regime, but we recognize that loss of Syria would be a severe blow to Hizbollah and its master Iran.  Its a bit like the Monatgus and the Capulets in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," "a pox on both your houses."


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