Sunday, 15 July 2012

Thinking the unthinkable about Lebanon, shiites and Hezbollah

I read this article by Jonathan Spyer about sunni restlesness in Lebanon after I wrote my article about why Israel should support the Kurds.

Spyer sees the Arab or rather Sunni Islamic Spring coming to Lebanon soon. Should this happen, Israel will very possibly find the Hezbollah threat replaced with an effective unitary islamic state from Turkey right down to Egypt, in effect a new caliphate (Jordan would not last beyond tomorrow without Israel's suppport, and would Israel be prepared to intervene even there in a civil war, Syrian style?).

This adds a further impetus for Israel to act now, to reach out to Kurds so that they will take this once in a century opportunity to change the fate of their people.

A Syrian-Iraqi Kurdish state will put the fear of God (if they don't have it already) into Iran and Turkey with their own large populations of Kurds.

But what is moreover interesting is what will happen on Israel's northern border.

If Syria falls to the islamist sunnis, Hezbollah will find it very difficult to be resupplied by Iran, (which might also find its own populations revolting again if the economic problems get much worse).

As the region goes Sunni, Israel could very well find that Hezbollah has its back to the wall, and that shiites in Lebanon discover that Israel isn't their most pressing and hated enemy after all. As Spyer said, allegiences change in Lebanon, and nothing can be ruled out.

Israel might yet find that it has another opportunity in Lebanon and it should be prepared to reach out to the shiite community there. Israel might even soon find that Lebanese shiites come knocking on its door, and not with the intention of kidnapping soldiers either. Israel must be prepared to think laterally.

And if you say that Nasrallah is an implaccable foe, I refer you to the fate of his predecessor:
Nasrallah became the leader of Hezbollah after the Israelis assassinated the previous leader, Musawi in 1992

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