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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The next battle in Lebanon.

Lebanon is a country that has long been divided along religious, ethnic, and political lines to the point that many of these divisions are recognized in the way the country's constitution allocates political power. These divisions have often led violence — the most recent major example being the bloody and destructive civil war that raged from 1975 to 1990. Many now fear that the major fallout from the inconclusive Israel-Hezbollah war is likely to be an another bitter struggle for political power.

In Lebanon's latest war-ravaged landscape, age-old tensions that were never properly addressed are more raw and public than ever. Many Christians grumble aloud that Israel should have "finished the job." Sunni Muslims are caught between satisfaction at seeing Israel taken down a notch and the terror of being sidelined by Hezbollah, an Iranian-bankrolled Shiite Muslim force. Shiites, who form the backbone of Hezbollah's support base, were the conflict's biggest victims, losing relatives, homes and jobs.

Many Lebanese from all backgrounds fear that Hezbollah, now the most powerful political and military force in the country, will inch back to its early goal of establishing Islamic rule over Lebanon.

Misbah Ahdab, a Sunni legislator from the ruling parliamentary bloc, said Hezbollah was creating "a parallel system" instead of making overtures to back the central government. Fear of angering Hezbollah is keeping many politicians silent, he said, even though they fret privately over the future of a country led by a militant Islamist group.

"It's totally ridiculous to begin rebuilding again when it's going to be destroyed in two years," he said. "And people are talking about unity."

Already, the militant Shiites of Hezbollah effectively rule the country: They alone have the power to keep the Lebanese end of the cease-fire, endless piles of dollars for reconstruction and the vast support of regional Arabs, who were so thrilled to see Israel bloodied that they overlooked non-Arab Iran's financing of their triumph.

It's hard for me to see any way that Hezbollah won't come out of such a struggle in a stronger position than it's in now. I can't imagine that this outcome is what Israel's war planners had in mind when they decided that Hezbollah would be an easy nut to crack.

Hannah Allam and Leila Fadel's full article on Lebanon's current political sitution is well worth your time.

Via McClatchy Washington Bureau.

| | Posted by Magpie at 10:32 AM | Get permalink




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