While Lebanon doesn’t normally receive much attention from the American media, I am glad to see the Daily Caller’s interview of the country’s defense minister Fayez Ghosn:
In an interview earlier this week with the Daily Caller, Fayez Ghosn, defense minister for Syria’s long-suffering client state Lebanon, urged the United States to hold off on President Barack Obama’s plan to attack Assad’s regime. But he acknowledged that Syria’s brutal civil war has already created tough burdens for his military.
I’ve read other stories over the past few weeks about Lebanon’s failing economy due to its decline in tourism, despite its increase in port activity. The increase in revenue is due to the more than 1 million Syrian refugees in the country of 4 million, along with the transition from land transport to sea lanes because of the Syrian civil war.
The United States must take this small country into account for two reasons: Hezbollah and its example of regionalism. Lebanon has always been unstable because of its diverse constiuencies: Maronite Christians, Shia, and Sunni Muslims. Through unofficial custom, the president is always a Christian, the Prime Minister always a Sunni, and the Speaker of the Parliament always a Shi’ite.
Because of this make-up, creating a Cabinet always presents tough predicaments; prime minister-designate Tammam Salam currently faces huge obstacles in developing a balanced national unity government. You can read more about it at the Daily Star Lebanon.
Hezbollah has controlled the southern part of the country ever since its inception in 1982 as a reaction against the Israeli invasion, helped by funding from Iran. The conflict at the time prompted peacekeeping by the Multinational Force in Lebanon, which included the United States. President Reagan intelligently pulled the country out of the struggle after the bombing of Marines barracks in 1983.
Currently, Hezbollah is also directly supporting Assad’s forces; in fact, it helped win the border town of Qusayr for the tyrant in June.
Yet here we are again involving ourselves in countries that are intrinsically linked through decades of warring and hatred. If Lebanon can’t create a representational Cabinet in the next few months, their weak army, which can barely secure its own borders, will face an influx of hundreds of thousands more refugees, an outflux of both Hezbollah members and Sunni Free Syrian Army sympathizers, and the added threat of a possible regional American involvement.
All without a state to provide basic security for Lebanese citizens, allowing Hezbollah to continously reign and possibly even expand.
Before we throw some explosive materials into chemical weapon stockpiles, let’s, for once in our long history of intervention, observe the long-term and regional effects of our foreign policies.
Let’s realize that “doing something” never means just one isolated cause that will lead to one desired effect; rather, it means an explosion of activity in a desert of faction.