The Corner

Them vs. Them, Cont’d

Remember after the 2006 war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah how the Shiite group was so popular that Sunnis were actually converting to Shiism out of support? Not any more:

Loyalty to Syrian President Could Isolate Hezbollah

. . . Mr. Nasrallah’s decision to maintain his critical alliance with Syria has risked Hezbollah’s standing and its attempts to build pan-Islamic ties in Lebanon and the wider Arab world.

Though Hezbollah’s base in Lebanon remains strong, it runs an increasing risk of finding itself isolated, possibly caught up in a sectarian war between its patron, Iran, the region’s Shiite power, and Saudi Arabia, a protector of Sunni interests in the Middle East. Its longtime ally, Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, has distanced itself from the Assad government, moving its headquarters out of Damascus, and Sunni revolutionaries in Syria have explicitly denounced Hezbollah as an enemy. At home, its Lebanese rivals sense a rare opportunity to erode its power.

Short of the locally generated overthrow and execution of the mullahs in Iran, protracted unrest in Syria is the best thing that could happen for our interests (and Israel’s, BTW) in the Middle East. We don’t have to fuel it or encourage it or anything — we just need to stand aside and allow the various parties to fight it out, preferably over a period of years, fostering an ineradicable mutual hatred among our enemies.

The one danger is that Iran or the Baathists or Hezbollah might attack Israel to divert attention from the fact that Assad is murdering Sunni women and children in Syria. But since attacking Israel is what they always want to do anyway, the increased risk would seem to be a small price to pay for the deepened enmity and bitterness among the various forces on the other side.

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