- The majority coalition currently governing Lebanon is pretty much fine with whatever foreign policy the United States decides to pursue.
They are led by Sunni Muslims.
- The biggest party in a minority coalition, which wants the majority coalition to share more decision-making power with the minority coalition (for example, the way our congressional committees have to be at least partly filled with members of the minority party/ies).
This largest party is Hezbollah.
Yes, it's both a paramilitary organization and a political party at once.
Anyway, Hezbollah is very much against 85+% of the foreign policy that the United States wants to pursue (or that the United States tells other people in Europe & the Middle East to pursue and impose upon Lebanon). Heck, they take the propaganda so far that some people just say that Hezbollah "hates America." Whether or not that's a fair assessment (do they hate "America" or just our foreign policy ever since the European powers left the region?) I can't say.
Hezbollah is led by Shiite Muslims.
- Also existing in Lebanon are militant / paramilitary groups that "hate America" (and they DO seem more likely to be thinking about more than just foreign policy's effects on Lebanon, since they don't think about politics and governance nearly as much as Hezbollah).
They are made up of Sunnis.
Even though they're very anti-American and anti-governments-who-support-America's-ideas and even though at least some members from each of these 3 paramilitary Sunni groups has buddies from back in the day in Afghanistan or some other connection to Al-Quaeda, we and the Lebanese governing majority have decided that, hey, they'll fight Shi'ite-led Hezbollah without turning on us or the Lebanese once they're done, right?
Because they're Sunnis, and so is the Lebanese government's majority coalition leadership!
(By the way, such groups, up to a couple of years ago, used to be given a swift kick in the pants out of Lebanon. Now, at our encouragement, the Lebanese government has been letting them stay & even work on their training. That's right...we're encouraging the Lebanese government to let them stay while we're chastising the Pakistani government for letting practically identical groups stay. But, hey, the Pakistani militants who are Sunni aren't helping the Pakistani Sunni government kill someone else we don't like, so it's okay to stick to the old sensible line about, "Get rid of your terrorists!" when talking to Pakistan.)
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The bigger narrative I heard that story within is the idea that if we get all the Sunni-led countries in the Middle East to do 2 things, Hezbollah and Iran will both lose out.
- Why do we want Hezbollah to lose out? Because, at the mildest, we think they'll change Lebanese foreign policy if they come to power.
- Why do we want Iran to lose out? Because Dick Cheney thinks that if Iran develops a bomb (despite the fact that all their mullahs who ACTUALLY control President Ahmadinejad have issued religious edicts that they absolutely oppose letting the government use a nuclear bomb on anyone) it'll give it to a Shi'ite led paramilitary group.
(And this is the "at the worst" scenario that "we" think Hezbollah could do--Cheney thinks that Hezbollah has enough people within the United States to get an Iranian-donated bomb from Iran to Palo Alto or Washington & set it off.)
Anyway, based on those assumptions about what would--oh no!--happen if Hezbollah and/or Iran weren't completely shut down, our government has decided to talk all the Middle East's Sunni-led countries to do things that keep Iran & Hezbollah from effectively doing ANYTHING (not just military & paramilitary activity--more like keep them from ruling at all, which, of course, would be bad, because it'd also cut off water supplies, police forces, museum staff, etc. just like it did in Iraq).
However, those countries aren't just going to send in their troops the way old-fashioned allies did. They say, "Okay. We'll send money to paramilitary groups who also happen to be Sunni, just like us. They'll try to kill lots of Hezbollah politicians and civil servants in Lebanon. Others will try to kill lots of Iraqi politicians and civil servants who happen to be getting money from the Iranian government in Iraq."
Guess who those groups Egypt, Jordan, & Saudi Arabia are pitching in funds to on our behalf? Groups with ties to a group that attacked us 5 years ago! Again, what are we going to do when these trained (Sunni) people have new weapons, lots of money left over, and are simply done fighting Shi'ite Iraqis in Iraq or Shi'ite Lebanese in Lebanon? What are we going to do when it's more advantageous for them to use their weapons on Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, or the United States?
Are we going to switch teams again and hope we can make it work? (Apparently the whole reason we've been supporting a Shi'ite-led, Iran-friendly government in Iraq for the last few years is that the White House didn't believe our intelligence community when they said, "Ummmm...if you think Iran's on the Axis of Evil, you might not want to kick all the Ba'athists out of the government. You're going to get a pro-Iranian government if you let the Shi'ites take over completely." The White House apparently thought, "Naaaah! Iraqi Shi'ites hate Iranian Shi'ites! They'd never work with them after that big war between their countries!" Can you BELIEVE we threw out a Sunni dictator partly on the premise that he wasn't even representative of his country's populace, only to re-support Sunni paramilitary groups in Iraq? What are we going to let them do? Install a Sunni dictator? D'oh!)
I don't even have any idea what to write to Congresspeople about this one. I don't think debates in Congress get as detailed as this situation is. I guess the best we can do is keep hoping they say, "You're not allowed to bomb Iran!" or something.
I can't imagine a bunch of them saying, all together, "You're not allowed to bomb Iran, you have to stop sending money to Lebanon's Sunni terrorists and telling other governments to send money to Lebanon's Sunni terrorists, and you have to tell Egypt, Jordan, & Saudi Arabia to stop sending money to Iraq's Sunni terrorists. (And, of course, while you're at it, for the love of all that is holy TALK to Iran and tell them to stop sending money to Iraq's Shi'ite terrorists if that's what you want them to do!)" Congress just doesn't get as complex as that. What a shame.
What do you think?