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Mouawad: Lebanon and Hezbollah cannot coexist

September 3, 2008
By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
The state of Lebanon and Hezbollah cannot coexist, says Lebanese parliamentarian Nayla Mouawad: A courageous declaration on the part of Mrs. Mouawad considering Hezbollah's increasing, unchecked political/strategic military power in Lebanon and the threats faced by parliamentarians and government officials who take public stands against the Shiia terrorist group.

Earlier today after meeting with Michele Sison, the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon; Mouawad, a Maronite Christian, said:

"It is obvious that we are facing two options: Either the democratic state of Lebanon or the Hezbollah state. ... We would not accept the placing of red lines beyond which the Lebanese Army is not permitted, be they at the [Beirut] suburb, Nahr al-Bared, Sujud or in any other location on Lebanese territory."

The Beirut suburb - al Dahiyeh - Mouawad is referring to is an armed Hezbollah stronghold, off-limits to Lebanese authorities. (Non-Hezbollah Lebanese and Westerners travel there at their own peril unless they are covertly schmoozing with Hezbollah.) Nahr al-Bared, near the northern city of Tripoli, is the site of the Lebanese Army's bloody three-month battle in 2007 with Sunni Al Qaeda-affiliate Fatah al Islam. And Sujud is where Hezbollah killed a Lebanese Army officer last week.

According to Naharnet:

"Mouawad also rejected a proposal by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to form a joint committee grouping the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah."

Gutsy to say the least.

Mouawad added that the "only solution" is to restrict any decision to go to war to the state of Lebanon, which should also be the only entity that possesses military weapons and the only entity managing Lebanon's defense policy.

"There should be no two armies ... and two states in Lebanon," she said.

Hezbollah - heavily funded (at least $1-billion, annually), trained, and operationally supported by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with additional backing from Syria - literally exists as a Shiia kingdom within the state of Lebanon. The group - essentially a Talibanesque army - is listed among the U.S. State Department's designated terrorist organizations. Hezbollah's operational reach extends far beyond Lebanon's shores. And in May - following Hezbollah's armed attacks against the Lebanese government and citizens - U.S. Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff warned that Hezbollah "makes Al Qaeda look like a minor league team."

- Visit W. Thomas Smith Jr. online at uswriter.com.

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