The Blog

Hezbollah's Weapons Seized

4:07 PM, Feb 9, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

No, not by UNIFIL. It would be too much to expect the United Nations to take any action against Hezbollah. But the BBC reports that a truck carrying AK-47s and other small arms--including rockets--destined for Hezbollah fighters was seized by the Lebanese government in Beirut. The Lebanese government also claims that the truck did not cross the border from Syria, which would indicate that Hezbollah was trying to move weaponry from the countryside into the capital.

Why would Hezbollah do such a thing? Olivier Guitta, writing at Counterterrorism Blog, speculates that Hezbollah is gearing up for a full on civil war. And over at Captain's Quarters, Captain Ed says that the seizure can be interpreted as a response by the Siniora government to Hezbollah's demands for a new cabinet and veto power over the government:

This comes amid tumult and portents of a new civil war. Nasrallah has demanded a new Cabinet and veto powers for Hezbollah over any government action, a demand that Siniora has rejected. The impasse resulted in massive demonstrations that attempted to shut down Beirut, which started to turn into a riot. Nasrallah ended it to avoid an all-out war that he cannot win, at least not at this time.

Seizing and holding the weapons appears to be Siniora's answer to Nasrallah. He will instead redirect the arms to the Lebanese Army, underresourced in comparison to Hezbollah anyway, using the recent border skirmish with Israel as an excuse. Siniora knows that Hezbollah's arms could soon be turned against the government, and he'd be a fool to release them to Nasrallah now.

Probably not a major setback for Hezbollah, which has a substantial arsenal at its disposal, but as good an indication of the group's intentions as we are likely to get.