Nasrallah on Screen 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Out of the north, an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the
All eyes are currently on the upheaval in
the Arab world. The anger of Egyptian citizens, the clashes in Bahrain and the
protests in Yemen, Algeria and Libya are broadcast live by world media in our
living rooms. The top commentators sit in their studios from morning till night,
analyzing every protest sign in Cairo’s Tahrir Square from 1,000 different
angles. There is not a single media outlet that has not sent reinforcements to
its existing crew in the Middle East, lest it miss an event that instantaneously
changes the region’s history.
For some reason, no one is interested in a
country where the most dangerous revolution has already taken place. For the
first time in Lebanon’s history, an extremist and violent terrorist group has
taken over the parliament and government without a single shot fired. And the
world exhibits profound indifference to this dramatic development.
tires are not burning in the streets of Beirut, and there is no effigy of Saad
Hariri (the ousted pro-Western prime minister) swinging from a power line with a
noose around its neck. Lebanon is not providing chilling scenes for
ratings-lifting newsbreaks. But there is news – bad news. Lebanon has performed
an alarming U-turn that drove it from the heart of a pragmatic camp in the Arab
world directly into the arms of a fanatic, radical axis.
ouster by millions of frustrated and angry citizens was a powerful event, but it
is still too early to predict the direction Egypt will now take. The
possibilities are vast; not all are negative. One can imagine scenarios in which
democratic elections will enable such strong political influence of the Muslim
Brotherhood that Egypt will disregard its long-time alliance with the US and
nullify its peace treaty with Israel.
At the same time, there is a chance
that the army and the security forces, together with the secular political
forces who in essence led the protests in the first place, will be wise enough
to lead the transition into a democratic society, one in which the power of
fundamentalist parties remains limited.
It is also too early to evaluate
whether the king of Jordan will follow the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, or
whether the clever and battle-tested Hashemites will guarantee his survival and
stability once again. King Abdullah provided an early cure when, at the
beginning of the Egyptian disturbances, he fired his government and appointed
Dr. Marouf Bakhit, a former general, as the new prime minister.
IN Egypt and Jordan there are still many uncertainties about the future, the
revolution in Lebanon leaves no room for doubt. The new prime minister, Najib
Mikati, was elected only with Hezbollah’s approval.
The billionaire may
be able to seem innocent in CNN interviews, but in the Land of the Cedars, there
are no surprises. You do not receive a personal appointment to the premiership
from Hassan Nasrallah unless you are a steadfast supporter of his agenda. It is
an agenda written in Farsi, so it can be applied in Beirut by the Iranian-Syrian
coalition of Walid Jumblatt the Druse, Hezbollah the Shi’ite, Michel Aoun the
Christian and Mikati the Sunni.
In the coming months and years, this
coalition will act to achieve a number of goals, which taken individually, and
certainly together, will serve as a red warning sign to the interests of
The first order of business for the Mikati government will be to
thwart any attempt by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to arrest and try senior
Hezbollah figures for their involvement in the murder of prime minister Rafik
The next goal will be to remove any obstacles placed by the Saad
Hariri government to weapons smuggling from Syria to Hezbollah. The Lebanese
army, in which even before the government shift there was an important presence
of Shi’ite officers and soldiers, will receive an unequivocal order to turn a
blind eye to all activity meant to strengthen Hezbollah, whether on the Syria-
Lebanon border, at the airports or at the seaports.
At the same time,
that army will be instructed to limit UNIFIL’s operations in southern Lebanon,
so that even its limited responsibilities, granted by Security Council
Resolution 1701, will be neutralized.
Afterward, Hezbollah will act to
change the internal agreements which serve as the basis for the political
balance in Lebanon, including the distribution of governmental positions among
the various ethnic groups. The Shi’ites have been claiming for years that the
agreements of the past no longer reflect the demographic changes that have
occurred over the past few decades. Hezbollah’s dominance in the parliament and
government will enable it to impose these changes and, as a result, perpetuate
its future hold in Lebanese politics, at the expense of its Christian
Eventually, Lebanon, like Syria its patron, will likely sign a
defense pact with Iran, through which the regime of the ayatollahs will provide
it with modern weapons and advanced intelligence capabilities, similar to the
intimate cooperation that exists between Tehran and Damascus.
way, the prophetic warning of Jeremiah will once again come true.
writer is a former Kadima minister.