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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill


The Trouble With Lebanon

United enemies, divided friends:

But the eminence grise of Lebanon’s enemies is Iran, whose own intelligence services are so enmeshed with Hezbollah that many suspect Iran of controlling Hezbollah like a private proxy army. The Syrian-Iranian project to make Hezbollah (and themselves) masters of Lebanon is a key step in Iran’s grand strategy of regional hegemony — and global jihad. The next Mideast war will be of Iranian design: Having extended its patronage to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Iran is flooding Lebanon and the Palestinian territories with missiles, and will soon be able to unfurl an umbrella of missile terror that could send Israel’s entire population into bomb shelters — or exodus. Israel may have no choice then but to respond with devastating force just to remain a viable state, and that will dramatically widen the conflict.

So who is responsible for the death of Pierre Gemayal? In Lebanon, the enemies of democracy operate in combination, in a loose network that includes Hezbollah and elements of the intelligence services of Syria, Iran, and Lebanon itself. Whether Hezbollah is directly responsible or not, the killing certainly furthers its goals. As Minister of Industry, Gemayal was widely seen as the youngest and toughest of Lebanon’s democrats — a rising star of the anti-Islamist forces. Eliminating him is a warning to all who would resist Hezbollah’s power grab.

In this sense, the Gemayal assassination is one of the opening shots in Hezbollah’s showdown with supporters of the Cedar Revolution. But there is a deeper lesson. The ideological struggle is not only one of democrats against Islamists, but more crucially one of democrats against themselves.

If Diem's experience in Vietnam should have taught us anything, it was that liberal democracies cannot coexist with armed insurgencies. Our own Civil War amply displayed this fact, with Abraham Lincoln wisely exercising emergency powers necessary to preserve the Union.


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