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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 9-May-2008
Hizbollah appears to be staging a coup in Lebanon

Web Log - May, 2008

Hizbollah appears to be staging a coup in Lebanon

As street gunfights spread, observers fear total civil war - which is impossible.

Related Articles

Hizbollah appears to be staging a coup in Lebanon: As street gunfights spread, observers fear total civil war - which is impossible.... (9-May-2008)
Political chaos increases in Lebanon as Constitution fails to provide a new President: Hizbollah is threatening to cripple Lebanon's government indefinitely,... (26-Nov-07)
Another Lebanese anti-Syrian politician killed in Beirut blast: The seventh assassination of anti-Syrian politicians in Lebanon... (14-Jun-07)
Three killed in student riots at Beirut Lebanon's Arab University: However, there are signs of diminishing violence in both Lebanon and Iraq.... (26-Jan-07)
Hizbollah leader Nasrallah's latest coup attempt collapses again: A general strike against the government on Tuesday paralyzed the government for several hours,... (24-Jan-07)
Assassination of Lebanese Minister threatens viability of Lebanon government: Independence Day celebrations were canceled on Wednesday as thousands mourned... (22-Nov-06)
Aftermath of Lebanese war: The winners and losers: Everyone seemed to follow his generational archetype, as if hypnotized to do so.... (6-Sep-06)
Israel's war against Hizbollah and Lebanon forces Muslims to choose sides : The war is part of a larger Shi'ite-Sunni struggle, and a stopgap ceasefire will create a worsening environment leading to a much more chaotic situation within a few months (25-Jul-2006)
Israel and Hizbollah declare war: However, the Palestinians are staying out of it so far... (15-Jul-06)
Israel mobilizes reserves and invades Lebanon: Calling Hizbollah capture of Israeli soldiers an 'act of war', Olmert promises "very painful and far-reaching" response.... (12-Jul-06)
Massive Beirut explosion killing Rafiq Hariri puts Lebanon into state of shock: Washington recalls its ambassador to Syria, as both Lebanon and America blame Damascus... (16-Feb-05)

Hizbollah gunmen seized control of pro-government areas of west Beirut on Friday, after several days of street gunfights. Observers claim that the battles push the nation "dangerously close" to all-out civil war between Shia groups, led by Hizbollah, and Sunni groups, led by the government.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, a civil war in Lebanon is impossible at this time, because the country is in a generational Awakening era. The situation is similar to the "civil war" issue in Iraq for the last few years: any violence that appears to be a civil war will fizzle fairly quickly, and dissolve into strident political battles.

Still, the mere threats of a new civil war that might be like the bloody civil war that occurred in the 1980s form a major part of the political fabric in Lebanon today.

Thus, we get ultra-dramatic reports like the following from Times Online:

"Gunbattles erupted on the streets of Beirut yesterday as a general strike turned into a violent confrontation between the Government and the opposition, led by the militant Shia group Hezbollah.

The rattle of automatic weapons and the crump of exploding rocket-propelled grenades echoed around the streets of the Lebanese capital as thick plumes of smoke rose from barricades of burning tyres.

In scenes grimly redolent of the 1975-1990 civil war, gunmen were seen inching down empty streets and firing rifles at windows to a backdrop of burning cars. ...

But it was overshadowed by the worsening crisis between the Western-backed Government and Hezbollah, which many Lebanese fear is about to reach a showdown after 16 months of political gridlock.

“This is a turning point. There can be no more cohabitation between the Government and the opposition. All trust is gone,” said Amal Saad Ghorayeb, a Lebanese political analyst and expert on Hezbollah."

But in fact, this analysis is all wrong. The most likely continuing scenario is that the political gridlock WILL continue, and there WILL continue to be "cohabitation." In a scenario where Hizbollah takes over the government, the political battles and sporadic street fights would continue, except that the roles of government and opposition would be reversed.

The event triggering the current crisis was certainly startling to me. On Tuesday, the government demanded that Hizbollah shut down its telecommunications network, and Hizbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah called this demand an "act of war" against Hizbollah.

I get the impression that this telecommunications network is extremely sophisticated. Hizbollah used it in the summer 2006 war with Israel to maintain communications among dispersed Hizbollah forces, and provide real-time intelligence on Israeli activities. Recently, Hizbollah has been using the network capabilities to monitor port and airport activities, as well as some roadways.

From the point of view of the rest of the world, what's most important about the political battles in Lebanon is their effect outside of Lebanon, especially among the Palestinians and Israelis. We can only guess at the impact: A political gain for Hizbollah would make the Israelis more nervous than they already are, and would strengthen Iran's prestige; but a political loss for Lebanon's Sunnis would probably weaken Hamas.

It was 60 years ago this week that the state of Israel was created, following the partitioning of Palestine by the United Nations. There's an Alice in Wonderland feeling to Israel's 60th anniversary. Today's frightened Israelis are celebrating the May 8 anniversary, but are wondering what kind of future they'll have. But if you go through the looking glass, there you find the Palestinians, many of whom are contemplating war with Israel, commemorating the 60th anniversary of Al Naqba - "Catastrophe Day" - next week on May 15. (9-May-2008) Permanent Link
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