Hezbollah-Sadr Updates

Big news out of Lebanon, breaking just now, story here alJazeera English, violence is breaking out between street forces of Hezbollah and the Sunni government of Fouad Sinora.  As of now, it seems, the Lebanese Army is trying to stay out of the fight.  Sheik Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah, gave a speech on TV saying that a recent government initiative to prevent their telephone networks (used for surveillance??) was equivalent to a declaration of war by the pro-Sunni government factions.

More ominously this (from the al-Jazeera piece):

Fears that the political conflict in Lebanon could escalate into sectarian conflict were heightened when Mohammed Rashid Kabbani, Lebanon’s Sunni grand mufti, spoke against Hezbollah for the fist time.

“Sunni Muslims in Lebanon have had enough,” Kabbani said in a televised address from his office.

The Sunni spiritual leader referred to Hezbollah as “armed gangs of outlaws that have carried out the ugliest attacks against the citizens and their safety”.

As Seymour Hersh detailed in the New Yorker more than a year ago, the US was helping to arm/train/supply (mostly through proxies like Saudi Arabia)  Sunni militias to help undermine Hezbollah (which is Shia and allied with Iran).

A great piece here from Andrew Lee Butters, Time’s Lebanon man for the Middle East Blog who lives in Beirut, detailing the creation of Awakening-like Sunni groups in neighborhoods to protect against Shia ethnic cleansing.  Check back to that site as likely he will be a key blogger as this story continues.

—Iraq

Also from al-Jazeera, more gun battles/street fighting in Sadr City, the Shia stronghold of Baghdad.  The US and its (more pro-Iranian) Shia allies in the (so-called) Iraqi Government (really just the Dawa and ISCI militias) are cutting off supplies to neighborhoods seen as pro-Sadr (BBC). Similar to the policy the US and Israel have been employing by cutting of the West Bank (due to its election of Hamas).  The BBC article linked above details the looming humanitarian disaster in Baghdad–the entire country is a humanitarian disaster but that’s a different for another day.  Football stadiums are being prepared for the exodus of civilians who are getting caught in the fight between the Mahdi Army and the US Army.  Expect more disaster to follow (think New Orleans Superdome).

The worse possibility is now a coordinated multi-prong attack on all these fronts, showing up this idea the US has been pushing for, for an anti-Iranian (i.e. anti-Shia) alliance in the Middle East.  Saber rattling with Iran is increasing, John Bolton is openly calling for strikes on Iran, Kuwaiti Sunni is claiming Iran is funding AQI, and the US continue to try to argue that Iran is the main backer of Sadr and attacks on the US military (as opposed to Iran actually being the main source of training/funding for the Iraqi Government which is why Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was given a hero’s welcome on his recent trip).  This is all very fishy and scary frankly.

What is unclear would be if the US were to use air strikes on Iran, how would the Supreme Islamic Council Badr Corps (i.e Iraqi security forces) respond–would they turn on the American military?  We know the Sadrists would rise up against the US.  We also know the Iranians would unleash their own Revolutionary Guards/al-Quds elements across the border to attack.  And Hezbollah would likely attack Israel unless of course they are too busy fighting Sunni in Lebanon. I guess they could leave Hamas to do the attacking of Israel.

We are not quite there yet, so I don’t want to be too alarmist, but a lot of chess pieces are moving into position.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I ask myself WHY this is happening now. Could it have anything to do with Bush’s embarassment over Carter’s meetings? More likely, the timing suggests that our Syrian allies are ramping up war FOR THE REPUBLICANS. Obama will lead the country out of that mosh pit called the mid east war. McCain wants to stay forever. Who does Syria and Israel want for president of the US?
    Please, please, please, for the sake of my children, end this 100 years-holy war.

  2. TT,

    Thanks for the note.

    I’m not entirely sure who you mean by the Syrian allies. The current policy of the US government is to overthrow the Syrian government–seen as part of the Iranian axis.

    What is occurring now that I didn’t mention in this post, is both talk of Syrian-Israli war as well as peace talks. Or Israel using peace talks failing as a precursor/excuse.

    This could go a lot of different (mostly bad) ways. But yes the first piece will require the extirpation of US forces from Iraq.

    peace. CJ

  3. CJ,

    Peace is what I pray for every day. Interestingly, Christians, Muslims and Jews all pray to the same God. I’ll bet She is very confused, like me 🙂

    I have also read and seen only that Syria is an enemy. In truth, we maintain a strong relationship with the leadership for our own selfish purposes. Secret talks and a big stick, to make certain *our* way towards occupation of Palestine goes smoothly.

    Remember that the USA approved Hezbollah’s running for offices in the elections. This had to have Syria involved at some level. Then they won. The USA spent tons of money to get the other guys elected, but lost. Then they made Hezbollah a terrorist org and cut off all money. Helloooo, Is this not the best way to restart a war?

    Great blog site. Keep up the good work.

    Tim


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