Historians in decades to come will recognise, and record, that we are in the midst of World War 3: a war with Islamic fascists that commenced in 1979, with the fall of the Shah of Iran.
In the last few days, Iran won a massive and strategically important battle in that war: one which gives it effective military control from Teheran, through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon to the Mediterranean. This threat to the West incidentally also surrounds Israel through Iranian proxies in Gaza and Lebanon.Â
This is how it played outâ€¦
On 6 May the Prime Minister Siniora
oÂ Â Â Â Â Â fired the head of Beirut International Airport security, who was using his position to facilitate the flow of Iranian personnel and military materiel into Lebanon.
oÂ Â Â Â Â Â declared as illegal Hezbollahâ€™s encrypted communication network which is directly connected to Syrian and Iranian command centres.
Iran moved quickly in an astounding display of its de facto control of Lebanon.
The commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Army and Syrian-backed presidential candidate General Michel Suleiman took a phone call from Teheran and then announced that the Lebanese Army would not fire on Lebanese citizens even if they carried arms. This gave Hezbollah and other Syrian-allied militias carte blanche.
The Lebanese Armyâ€™s splintering (in the past 12-24 months), along sectarian lines, then came into play. The various brigades, are now formed from regional groups and therefore each is loyal to the tribal grouping of their home region. Many (e.g. those from Shiâ€™ite regions) support Syria/Iran rather than the government.Â
The Syria/Iran coup was also supported by Maronite Christian leader Michel Aoun (former Prime Minister). You might expect that he would oppose Iran, but his long feud with the aging Maronite Patriarch, and other â€œbusiness interestsâ€ have driven him into Hezbollahâ€™s arms, weakening Christian and Sunni support for the government.
Loyalist forces capitulated without firing a shot.
They stood aside while Hezbollah destroyed government-controlled media assets. Three Druze militias switched to Hezbollah, which, together with Christian and other militias loyal to Syria, paraded posters of the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Asad in Beirut.
Voila â€“ check-mate! The PM had no choice but to withdraw his demands related to the airport security and illicit military communications system in a humiliating â€œdealâ€ that is in fact a total surrender in all but name. He even committed to dealing with many long-standing political Hezbollah demands, thereby elevating their PR success on the street.
On May 10, the Hezbollah â€œwithdrawalâ€ from Beirut, was merely a handover of those positions to Amal militia and the Army brigades friendly to them. Hezbollah has thus maintained its control over the Beirut positions, while redeploying to consolidate their control over transportation lines radiating from Beirut to south Lebanon, and to the hashish-producing, foreign-currency generating Beqaa valley.
The Hezbollah forcesâ€™ hold over the entire Beqaa, was supported by the Syrian 10th Division which crossed into Lebanon on 10 May. The Syrian 10th & 14th Divisions, under the command of Maher al-Assad, the Syrian dictatorâ€™s brother, stretch along the Lebanese border from the Damascus-Beirut Highway to Israel.
In the meantime the UN did not utter a word, let alone protest, about this massive Hezbollah activity in south Lebanon in violation of UNSC Resolution 1701. The 15,000 (mainly Western) UNIFIL troops in Lebanon hid in their barracks.
What will the West do now?