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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Lebanon on the brink of a coup. World still sleeping.

The world media - and world leaders -are all but ignoring the escalating tensions in Lebanon.

The Syrian-backed Opposition reportedly plans to take control of Beirut in the event an indictment by the international Tribunal was issued.

Pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat newspaper on Tuesday quoted a well-informed Lebanese source as saying reports were being circulated among Lebanese security authorities that Hizbullah and AMAL Movement as well as other forces allied with Syria have been holding extensive, periodic meetings to discuss "coordination" in the presumed battle for the control of Beirut.

It said the meetings discussed "zoning" of the areas such as each group will have its own confrontation zero hour map.
Security has been tightened around the police headquarters in Beirut's Ashrafiyeh neighborhood following reports that the Opposition is likely to carry out a "swift operation" to shake up the Lebanon situation and convey a message about what Opposition forces can do if an indictment was issued.

Information obtained by Internal Security Forces (ISF) said one of the main goals behind the "operation" was to seize control of the police headquarters and the intelligence bureau, Ad-Diyar newspaper reported on Tuesday.

It said the Hizbullah-led March 8 forces had previously leaked reports to a Jordanian newspaper about the Opposition's intention to target ISF headquarters.

Ad-Diyar quoted well-informed security sources as saying that the attackers are likely to wear police uniforms as a disguise to storm the headquarters.
An entire country is on the verge of being taken over by what is effectively an Iranian army brigade, and yet all we see are scattered, muted statements of concern about interference with the STL investigation.

The consequences of a Hezbollah coup are frightening and wide-ranging. It would mean the beginning of the end of any pretense of equal rights for Lebanese Christians, it would mean Iran would have a military base on the Mediterranean, it would mean that Israel suddenly borders Iran - and Iranian weapons. (The ineffective UNIFIL presence would be even more irrelevant when Iran can put medium-range missiles in the north of Lebanon that could atill strike all of Israel.)

True, Syria has been largely allied with Iran, but the Syrian government will still play one side against the other to maintain power - it is not an ideological alliance. Hezbollah, on the other hand, proclaims full allegiance to Iran and Iranian clerics.

The Hariri probe can be released any week now; it is widely expected to come out before the end of the year. There have already been reports of Hezbollah's likely planned reaction. 

When will the world wake up?