Hizbullah, “the Lebanese safety valve,” confronts the new post-May 2008 reality: the supply lines for civil war have come to fruition
Of course the M14 argument still has some weight – i.e. that Hizbullah’s arms attract threats and dangers… This of course is hotly debated and rightfully so. But the party’s activities around the kidnapping today, and the literal fights MPs have had with shi’i protesters who want to use violence in an uncontrolled manner, is an important indicator of hizbullah’s pragmatism of course, its standing in lebanon as a rare type of actor responsible in many ways far beyond other historic actors (though also irresponsible of course in some key ways as well), and its essential rationality (which conflicts at certain points with its essential irrationality in some areas).
It also is a testament to the main event – a major regional conflict is brewing in the coming weeks and Hizbullah CANNOT have the internal house breakdown on sectarian and uncontrollable lines BEFORE matters spark off, likely as the result of a provocative “lone” attack care of Assad towards Israel or an Israeli attack/provocation. This was the main lesson of the camps wars and war with AMAL in the 1980s, when the main need is the front against Israel.
The party is now evidently exercising enormous resources to prevent this internal from spinning out of control. But one central problem is that unlike in MAY 2008, THERE ARE NOW SUBSTANTIAL, VIABLE SUPPLY LINES for hizbullah’s many opponents.
THIS – and lack of intimated US boots on the ground – IS WHAT CAUSED JUMBLAT’s shift in may 2008 and after…. IT IS PRECISELY WHY HE IS NOW RE-SHIFTING. He could not get weapons to fight Hizbullah AND Syria/Iran in their corner. Israel was closed to the south, syria was all around and jounieh…. well…. He and M14 could not get viable, extended, secure supply lines for anything more than the Choueifat bloodying which the PSP of Jumblat was able to exact in May 2008 on Hizbullah.
So – The critical aspect – on a purely lebanese area basis – of the current situation is that the supply lines for civil war are now opening, widely.
The threat of civil war – as many of us analysts always said – was never very great in post 2005 lebanon – UNLESS THE US AND SAUDIS CHOSE TO ARM FOLKS as M14 parties ASKED FOR (see wikileaks).
The time has now come where the main aspect of “another civil war” – beyond the many underlying reasons of which there are many – is ripe for the picking.