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After almost a month of conflict, Hezbollah maintains its ability to fire rockets at Israel, and Nasrallah is still alive. Given the relatively limited force that was applied by the IDF - less than a division on the ground, sent in belatedly, this result is not surprising, though it is frankly disappointing. Given the wave of "atrocity" and "war crimes" complaints coming from many of the same quarters who insist Israel is losing, it is unlikely that Israel could have been allowed by those critics and "World Opinion" to do the job that needs to be done: disarming the Hezbollah and implementing UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1680. That task will probably have to wait for a multi-national force, if one can be formed that has the required intelligence capabilities and motivation to do the job. Don't hold your breath waiting for this force. Perhaps deployment of the Lebanese army will solve the problem, but it seems unlikely. This mostly Shi'ite force has proven its worthlessness repeatedly in the history of Lebanon. Will it have the will or the means to stand up to Hezbollah? Some Israeli commentators seem to think so. However the fact that Hezbollah readily agreed to deployment of the Lebanese army in the south, may indicate that they plan to either control this army or use it as a shield.



Foreign and Israeli commentators have been arguing about whether or not Israel is losing this war. Some seem to be quite gleeful about the fact that Hezbollah, with the generous help of "world opinion," has withstood the IDF. Perhaps they do not understand the implications.

What is certain, is that if Hezbollah remains intact, the people of Lebanon will have lost their struggle to unite and rebuild their shattered country. Islamist extremism and Iranian hegemonic ambitions will have scored a major victory in the Middle East.

Lebanese journalist Michael Young, not a friend of Israel, writes in Slate that contrary to published opinion polls, he claims Lebanese do not support Hezbollah. Journalist Lee Smith, recently arrived in Jerusalem from Beirut, made the same points as Young about Lebanese attitude to Hezbollah. Maronite Christians are hoping against hope that Israel will smash Hezbollah and give them back their country. Other Christians and Sunnis are not enthusiastic about the big Hezbollah "victory" either. If Hezbollah is winning such a great victory, why was PM Seniora in tears yesterday?

Young notes:


...in closed meetings, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has said his first priority—and fear—is to avoid the war's feeding sectarian strife. Officials won't express this openly, partly because Hezbollah is armed and mobilized, partly because the war continues. But such anxieties—and they permeate the political class—hardly speak to broad approval for the party.



Young warns of the dangers for Lebanon if Hezbollah comes out of the fight more or less intact:


By any measure, Hezbollah is facing a trial of tremendous seriousness...[I]t has also had to watch the dismantling of the painfully constructed edifice that once bolstered its domestic legitimacy. To play down this essentially political setback, Hezbollah has narrowly highlighted its tactical military successes. Down the road, however, it may try to regain the initiative through a full-fledged coup against the Lebanese system.
...
This is the essence of Lebanon's dilemma as the war nears its fourth week. Does Hezbollah agree to integrate itself into the Lebanese political system and disarm? Or does it exploit its substantial reserves of men and weapons to bring all of Lebanon forcibly into line with the party's priorities? The first means the end of Hezbollah as we know it and is a suicide option; the second could bring Lebanon down around everybody's head in renewed civil war. Call it Hezbollah's Samson option.



Rapid agreement on deployment a strong international force is needed not just to stop Hezbollah from firing missiles on Israel, but to prevent Hezbollah from taking over Lebanon.

Time is running out. Young points out:


In May, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Rear Adm. Muhammad-Ebrahim Dehqani declared, "We have announced that wherever America does something evil, the first place that we target will be Israel."


In other words, this war was never really about kidnapped Israeli soldiers or Sheba farms. It's about Iran, stupid.

Hezbollah's strike on July 12 was timed to coincide with the G-8 meeting which was to consider the response to the Iranian nuclear program. Clearly, Hezbollah are acting as puppets of Iran, as well as serving their own narrow local political interests.

Young writes:


While Hezbollah still retains thousands of rockets, mostly shorter-range Katyushas, can it even consider using them in, let's say, the next decade? With nearly 1 million people estimated to be displaced, a majority of them Shiites, and with Lebanon facing an economic calamity from which it won't emerge for many years, could Hezbollah—or, more important, its base of followers—withstand the devastating impact of a new Israeli onslaught if the party were to assist its comrades in Tehran? That's doubtful.


Young seems very optimistic in that respect. Hezbollah doesn't care if there are more dead people in Lebanon. On the contrary. It recruits its following from among the poor Shiites, and would lose nothing if wealthier Sunni and Christian segments were ruined. Besides, it may be a mistake to assume that Nasrallah has the freedom to "just say no" when Tehran tells him to do something.

The question may be tested well before the "next decade." Looming before us in September is the inevitable confrontation with Iran over sanctions to be imposed by the UN. If Hezbollah is still in a position to make trouble then, it will. Given the seriousness of the threat to Iran, we can gauge what Hezbollah will do if it only it can do it.

Those who are concerned for the Lebanese people should disregard Seniora's crocodile tears for the mostly nonexistent victims of Houle, and insist on disarmament of the Hezbollah now.

Ami Isseroff



The Samson Option
Is Hezbollah on the verge of destroying Lebanon?
By Michael Young
Posted Monday, Aug. 7, 2006, at 2:58 PM ET
Hassan NasrallahLater this week, the U.N. Security Council will probably vote on a draft resolution dealing with the war in Lebanon. The document is not likely to end the fighting, but it might prove a major step in that direction. But the more troublesome long-term question for many Lebanese is the future of Hezbollah if it insists on remaining armed. Their country lies precariously poised on a tightrope, and it's the party that holds the balancing pole.

Much has been made of what would constitute a Hezbollah victory in the current conflict. If the party survives as an effective military force, some have argued, it will claim victory and transform this into political gains once the fighting stops. The argument has validity, but its implications may be far worse given the proliferating problems that will overcome Hezbollah in a postwar Lebanon—not least the massive human catastrophe the party will have to address when it again puts on its bonnet as a distributor of social patronage to its Shiite brethren.

By any measure, Hezbollah is facing a trial of tremendous seriousness. It may now be benefiting from Israeli indecision in the land war—the party can still fire rockets across the southern border—but it has also had to watch the dismantling of the painfully constructed edifice that once bolstered its domestic legitimacy. To play down this essentially political setback, Hezbollah has narrowly highlighted its tactical military successes. Down the road, however, it may try to regain the initiative through a full-fledged coup against the Lebanese system.

Take Hezbollah's missile capability. In May, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Rear Adm. Muhammad-Ebrahim Dehqani declared, "We have announced that wherever America does something evil, the first place that we target will be Israel." While he did not mention Hezbollah, it was plain that retaliation for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, for instance, would at least partly come from Lebanon. Last week, Iran's former interior minister, Ali Akbar Mohtashemi Pour, who helped create Hezbollah, told an Iranian newspaper that Tehran had supplied the party with long-range Zelzal-2 missiles. These were not intended to defend Lebanon but rather to place Iran's military deterrent at Israel's doorstep.

While Hezbollah still retains thousands of rockets, mostly shorter-range Katyushas, can it even consider using them in, let's say, the next decade? With nearly 1 million people estimated to be displaced, a majority of them Shiites, and with Lebanon facing an economic calamity from which it won't emerge for many years, could Hezbollah—or, more important, its base of followers—withstand the devastating impact of a new Israeli onslaught if the party were to assist its comrades in Tehran? That's doubtful.

And what of Hezbollah's anchors in Lebanese society? For over a decade, the armed group used its militancy against Israel, Syria's backing, intimidation, and Shiite support to protect its independence and prerogatives. This now lies in tatters. Much has been made of two polls recently released in Beirut, claiming that more than 80 percent of Lebanese citizens support Hezbollah's resistance against Israel. These results are simply not borne out by facts on the ground. Anecdotally, while there may be hostility to Israel in many quarters, there is no noticeable backing among Christians, Sunni Muslims, or Druze for what Hezbollah has done. If anything, hostility is being expressed with greater boldness.

More significant, in closed meetings, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has said his first priority—and fear—is to avoid the war's feeding sectarian strife. Officials won't express this openly, partly because Hezbollah is armed and mobilized, partly because the war continues. But such anxieties—and they permeate the political class—hardly speak to broad approval for the party. There has been solidarity with displaced Shiites, though aid workers tell me petty disputes between refugees of different sects are on the rise. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt has allowed Shiite refugees in his areas to put up Hezbollah flags and photographs of the party's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, mainly to reduce Shiite frustration and avoid clashes with the Druze. In other districts, particularly Christian ones, however, such flexibility is rarer.

Hezbollah's third test will be to rapidly alleviate the suffering in its own community and, therefore, avoid losing its base. The party still has substantial backing among its coreligionists, and it is not about to see this disappear. But soon the fate of the hundreds of thousands of Shiites now living in schools, tent cities, and even public parks will be an overriding concern for Nasrallah. Many have fled areas partly or wholly destroyed, to which they might not return for months or years. Once they do go back, Hezbollah will have to provide funding for reconstruction and rehabilitation that is likely to run into the billions of dollars. With the onset of winter, the party will have a monumental task to revive not only Shiite morale but confidence that Hezbollah can take care of its own.

The money will come. Iran and Hezbollah's Shiite finance networks in the Gulf will surely provide what is needed—they have to. But even the party's most optimistic interpretation of the current war—that it is a heroic achievement—will not spare it having to tiptoe very carefully through Shiite trauma.

And that is what is most potentially worrying. To detract attention away from its own responsibility for the war, Hezbollah may well choose to go on the offensive inside Lebanon, politically and even militarily. Instead of facing Shiite anger, it might opt to redirect it against those Lebanese who, many Shiites feel, failed to satisfactorily sustain the "resistance" in its existential struggle against Israel.

This is the essence of Lebanon's dilemma as the war nears its fourth week. Does Hezbollah agree to integrate itself into the Lebanese political system and disarm? Or does it exploit its substantial reserves of men and weapons to bring all of Lebanon forcibly into line with the party's priorities? The first means the end of Hezbollah as we know it and is a suicide option; the second could bring Lebanon down around everybody's head in renewed civil war. Call it Hezbollah's Samson option.

Original content is Copyright by the author 2006. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000204.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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Replies: 1 Comment

It is like hearing a little kid arguing for a piece of candy when he had just ate a whole box.
Who asked your help to disarm hizbulla, NOONE. Who asked you to interfere in our politics???
You state that we use media to gain sympathy from the world???? You bastards hide your failures from the media, you idiots same as the Americans use your stupid media to control the minds of your nationals and feed them the bullshit the way a shepard controls his sheep, only to end up selling them, eating, or benefiting from them one way or another.
You call us savages??????? You dumbass people, Arabs are the most educated people, islam is the most advanced religeon, however, when logic, fairness, and common sense doens't get through you thick degenerating brains, we have to reply to your attackes by force. After all i have read on this website, i can proudly say: So what if we kill you, the world will be a better place, Idiots free.

**** you, from the first ever Israeli born till the last ever to live.
I hope all your children die in front of your eyes just as you and your murderous goverment and it enfamous supporter George w. Bush were the reason for the death of many Arabs, Muslims or Chisrtian Children, women , and men.
You are just a bunch of Fagits.

Diana, Monday, August 28th


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