The genius of this political move by Hizballah is emerging to the surface.
Yesterday, I thought to myself: what's all this fuss about? Let Hizballah's supporters go and demonstrate. Let them sit for a year if they want to... as long as they do so peacefully, as Hizballah has promised, I don't see why people are screaming bloody Mary!
The government will continue to function. The businesses located in the areas in which the protesters have settled will relocate, and everyone will live their lives as usual.
Besides, most of these guys still have to rebuild their homes and both them, as well as their temporary hosts (cousins, sisters, brothers, etc...) would appreciate a breath of fresh air along with guaranteed food supplies as well as other necessities.
I know that if I had to live in my cousin's house for three months as my house is being rebuilt, I'd definitely appreciate free alternative lodging with the accompanying belief that I was doing it for a good cause.
However, today, the genius behind these protests is more apparent. Hosni Moubarak, the dictator of Cairo has come out saying that if this lasts any longer, Lebanon will be destroyed. The Saudis are very active - behind the scenes, trying to end this spectacle. It seems the entire officialdom of the Arab world is up in arms!
On a somewhat related note, I remember back during the March 14 protests how queasy the Arab dictatorships were - if you don't believe me, just order some tapes of al Jazeera coverage and notice the tone of both news reporters and anchors. The regimes saw mass protests and freaked out - except: they lived with it because Lebanese were protesting against occupation and the injustices of an occupying force (that the arab regimes themselves, conveniently despised).
Today however, we see the same protests, with the declared intent of bringing down a government. To make matters worse, the protesters happen to be Shi'a, and the government, led by a Sunni prime minister. Now if you were a suni dictator, or king, and you saw such a spectacle, how would you feel? What if you had an oppressed shi'a population watching their tv sets as these protests transpire?
Is this Hizballah's payback? Payback for the statements issued by the Arab states during the first days of the Israeli onslaught that essentially justified the Israeli response? I am afraid it is. Such an extreme measure (in a regional context) is also proof that Hizballah viewed the status-quo ante as untenable. And now, the Arab dictatorships are sceaming! I can't believe Hosni Moubarak came out and threatened the destruction of Lebanon! who the *%^$& does he think he is?
Anyways... I predict the pressure Lebanon will face in these coming days will be massive. Not so much because the protesters will have any domestic impact, but because of satellite television and the insecure Arab dictators and kings who, more than anything, fear their publics.
Hassan Nasrallah will either get what he wants in return for backing down from the streets or some other solution will be cooked up. Either way, this situation will come to an end very soon. Again, not because of Lebanese factors (if it were a purely Lebanese matter, Hizballah would definitely lose - protesters, no matter how enthused will eventually return home), but because of some insecure idiots who feel very threatened by the spectacle of a peaceful demonstration organized with the express intent of bringing down a government (and, a government that does not mow them down with machine-gun fire).