We need to remember what Hezbollah is fighting for
, in order to understand what Israel is fighting against. Hezbollah has an unambigious message
As Fred Halliday reported quite frankly after visiting with them:
Towards the end of the day, my guides took me [to] a hill overlooking the Israeli frontier, and the town of Metulla. [....] From one roadside vantage-point, they had pointed to the still unresolved Shebaa area to the southeast. As we looked over to this Israeli town, with people clearly visible walking in the streets, the chief guide turned to me with an unambiguous message: "It took us twenty-two years to drive them out of here [Lebanon]... and it may take us up to forty years to drive them out of there [occupied Palestine]".
I long ago decided, in dealing with revolutionaries and with their enemies, in the middle east and elsewhere, to question their motives and sense of reality, but to take seriously what they stated to be their true intentions. Those words, spoken on the hill overlooking Metulla in 2004, were sincerely meant, and carried within them a long history of fighting, sacrifice and killing. In light of recent events, it would be prudent to assume that much more is to come.
There is no doubt that the Hezbollah intend to drive the Jews out of Israel, and there is also no doubt that the Iranians are behind them, and that the current attacks in Gaza and in Lebanon, were coordinated by the Iranians. The timing was meant to shift attention away from the Iranian nuclear development program and the G-8 meeting, but the long term goal is to somehow drive the Jews out of Israel, and set up a Muslim exclusivist theocratic state in its place. Dovish commentator Akiva Eldar documents the evidence of Iranian and Syrian involement:
The following is an assortment of telltale signs of the Iranian-Syrian scheme, executed by Hamas and Hezbollah, to ignite the Arab-Israeli arena. All of the signs converge on a single event in time - the G8 gathering...
On July 21, on the morning of the attack in northern Israel, the conservative Iranian newspaper, Jomhuri Islami, chose to print a speech given by Hassan Nasrallah on May 23. The secretary-general of Hezbollah declared that "all of Israel is now within range of our missiles... We possess a more than adequate stock of arms, both qualitatively and quantitatively... Over 2 million Jews live in northern Israel, where there are centers of leisure and touring activities, factories, agriculture, important military airfields and army bases... Our presence in south Lebanon, contiguous to the northern part of
occupied Palestine, is our most important stronghold."
On July 11, following his meeting with Javier Solana, the individual who holds the nuclear portfolio in the Iranian cabinet, Ali Larijani, departed for a surprise visit to Damascus. Following the visit, Syrian Vice-President Farouk a-Shara announced that "the resistance movements in Lebanon and in Palestine [namely, Hezbollah and Hamas - A.E.] will make the decisions on their own affairs."
That same day, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened the Western states in a television broadcast, warning them against supporting Israel, as "the fury of the Muslim peoples is not limited to the borders of the region... the waves of the explosion... will reach the corrupt forces [the Western states] that support this counterfeit regime."
On July 3, Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the Kayhan newspaper and a close associate of Iranian leader Ali Khamenei, wrote that "we mustn't respond to Israel's crimes only in Gaza, only in the occupied lands. Why should the Zionists feel secure when Muslims have no security?"
In an interview with the Iranian news agency, Mehr, Shariatmadari said that the Islamic world should not restrict its response to the Zionist attacks only to the Gaza Strip, but should create a situation in which "no Zionist will feel safe, anywhere in the world."
On June 16, the Asharq Al Awsat newspaper reported the signing of an agreement on military cooperation between Syria and Iran "to repulse the threats [of the U.S. and Israel]."
The newspaper emphasized that among other subjects, talks held in Tehran between the Syrian defense minister, Hassan Turkmani, and his Iranian counterpart, Mustafa Mohammed Najjar, focused on the situation in Lebanon and in Palestine, and on assistance to Hamas and to Jihad in their confrontation with the Fatah movement. The Syrian minister officially declared "a common front against Israel's threats... Iran views Syria's security as its own security."
Asharq Al Awsat also reported that the minister had visited Tehran at the head of a large delegation accompanied by military and intelligence officers, and had met there with government and army leaders. The newspaper reported that Iran had agreed to underwrite the purchase of military hardware for Syria from Russia, China and Ukraine, in addition to equipping the Syrian army with artillery, ammunition, military vehicles and missiles of Iranian manufacture. Iran would also help to train Syrian naval forces.
Black on white
Syria publicly announced that it had extended its previous agreements with Iran on easing the passage of trucks conveying Iranian weapons into Lebanon. There it was - black on white.
...Yigal Carmon, the founder and director of the [MEMRI] institute who spent many years in the defense establishment, placed a call soon after the Hamas attack at Kerem Shalom to a cabinet minister with whom he is acquainted. He informed the minister of his hypothesis that Hamas' deviation from its cease-fire policy (which at the time was expressed in its acceptance of the Prisoners' Document) was related to the pressure placed on Iran vis-a-vis its nuclear program.
Carmon told the minister-friend that he perceived an escalation in the threats voiced by Iran, increasing in volume as the date grew closer for Iran's response to the G8 on its nuclear program. He implored the minister to speak with his counterparts around the cabinet table, asking them to bite their lips until after the meeting in Brussels between the diplomatic coordinator of the EU, Javier Solana, and the secretary of the National Security Council of Iran, Ali Larijani.
"I told him it was important for the Europeans to understand that the Iranians have no intention of responding to the American compromise proposal," says Carmon, reconstructing the conversation. "I told him that in my assessment, if there was an Iranian plan to repulse the international pressure, then we could expect a threat to develop on our northern sector as well."
What is most ominous about all of the above, is that if Carmon is right, if Iran has no intention of responding (favorably) to the American compromise proposal, then the world will soon be facing a much greater crisis and a much greater test of international will then the Lebonon crisis. Perhaps it is because of this understanding that the EU and US are taking relatively resolute stands regarding the present crisis, so as to signal their own future intentions.
In any case, it is clear what signals Israel has to send regarding our own intentions.
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