Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Syria hints at disarming Hezbollah

The other day, this blog was speculating about the possible rift between Hezbollah and Syria and presented four pieces of 'evidence': the killing of Mughnieh in Damascus under the eyes of the always alert Syrian secret service; the documents president Suleiman suddenly found regarding Lebanese ownership of the Shebaa farms; the canceling of the national strike by the Syrian controlled Labor Union early May, after which Hezbollah took over West-Beirut; and the resurrection of Fatah al-Islam leader al-Abssi

Now, we can add a fifth piece: Syrian president Bashar Assad openly saying that Hezbollah should disarm once peace in the Middle East has been reached. With Syria and Israel talking, such peace might be closer by than you'd think. Hezbollah must be feeling the pressure to disarm, hence they started adding new conditions, such as liberation of all Lebanese and Palestinian detainees from Israel's prisons.

A simple regional peace alone is no longer good enough for Hezbollah, while Syria is now saying that such peace actually should be good enough reason to put down their arms. If any March 14 politician says the exact same thing, Hezbollah is quick to label him as a traitor to the Resistance. Now let's see how they will react to Assad's words.


Lebanese Blog said...

After noticing the exchange of prisoners, the UN handling the Shebaa Farms, and no more trespassing, hezbollah actually got all it wanted, and Lebanon is actually respected in the eyes of Israel and the world. By now, I think hezbollah needs to merge or find a solution to its arms and the Army.

Anonymous said...

March 14 has been holding the Syrian talks over Hezbollah's head for a long time now. However, it isn't in Syria's power to disarm Hezbollah -- just like it isn't in Israel's or March 14's power either. The thing to remember here is that Syria isn't going to take the Golan with Hezbollah as the price, because Nasrallah can close Lebanon off from Syria with one press conference and Assad knows it. Assad isn't going to cross Hezbollah and make them his enemy.

The difference between Hezbollah and everyone else in Lebanon, when it comes to Syria, is that Hezbollah acts with sovereignty and the rest of the Lebanese party's don't. [I know the common rhetoric is that Hezbollah is Syrian/Iranian sponsored, but its time to get off of that already; this false contention is the basis behind so many incorrect calculations when it comes to dealing with Hezbollah.]

March 14's confrontation with Syria is a function of a whole set of regional and global interests playing out in Lebanon, but Hezbollah's relationship with Syria is a function of Hezbollah's interests. Hezbollah right now, whether anyone likes it or not, is kingmaker in Lebanon. This is the role they want to play and are playing, and an indicator of this is their willingess and outright efforts to give thier shares in the upcoming government to others in the opposition. It shows that they aren't concerned with ruling or gaining power for themselves. In Lebanon, kingmaker is always more powerful and influential than the king. Syria was the former kingmaker in Lebanon. Now this position is in the hands of Hezbollah, and Syria wants a kingmaker that is friendly to it.

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