May 24, 2008
Barry Rubin: The Fall of Lebanon
Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, explains why May 21, 2008 is a date that should live in infamy.
â€œIf you have tears, prepare to shed them nowâ€¦. Oh, what a fall was thereâ€¦ Then I, and you, and all of us fell down.â€ .--William Shakespeare, â€œJulius Caesar,â€ Act 3, Scene 1 May 21, 2008, is a dateâ€”like December 7 (1941) and September 11 (2001)â€”that should now live in infamy. Yet who will notice, mourn, or act the wiser for it?
On that day, the Beirut spring was buried under the reign of Hizballah.
Speaking on October 5, 1938, after Britain and France effectively turned Czechoslovakia over to Nazi Germany, Winston Churchill said, â€œWhat everybody would like to ignore or forget must nevertheless be stated, namely, that we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeatâ€¦.â€[i]
In contrast, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch said that the agreement over Lebanon was, "A necessary and positive step." At least when one sells out a country one should recognize this has happened rather than pretend otherwise. But this is precisely what took place at Munich, when the deal made was proclaimed as a concession that brought peace and resolved Germanyâ€™s last territorial demand in the region.
Churchill knew better and his words perfectly suit the situation in Lebanon today:
â€œThe utmost [Western diplomacy] has been able to gain for Czechoslovakiaâ€¦has been that the German dictator, instead of snatching the victuals from the table, has been content to have them served to him course by course.â€
Yes, thatâ€™s it exactly. On every point, Hizballah, Iran, and Syria, got all they wanted from Lebanonâ€™s government: its surrender of sovereignty. They have veto power over the government; one-third of the cabinet; election changes to ensure victory in the next balloting; and they will have their candidate installed as president.
The majority side is not giving up but is trying to comfort itself on small mercies. The best arguments it can come up with are that now everyone knows Hizballah is not patriotic, treats other Lebanese as enemies, and cannot seize areas held by Christian and Druze militias. It isnâ€™t much to cheer about.