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Hezbollah: Finishing Off what Hamas Began | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It is hard to believe that whilst Israel celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of its founding, Hezbollah was invading west Beirut. Was it coincidental that Iran and Syria suffered a defeat in Iraq on the same day that Muqtada al Sadr’s team in Baghdad announced that it would surrender to the government, the head of which, Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki, threatened to fight to the end in the battle against the Mehdi Army even if it meant that hundreds of thousands in Sadr City would be displaced?

Before the celebration of Independence Day, Israel feared that Hezbollah, in its capacity as the “resistance”, would carry out an operation against it, thereby blasting all its preparations and celebrations. However, it actually executed an operation against west Beirut and kept away from Israel.

When [Hezbollah leader] Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated in Damascus, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, declared an “open war”. The Lebanese thought that he was declaring an open war against Israel and Israeli targets but suddenly the war was being launched against west Beirut and its cultural, media, charitable and engineering institutions. Beirut was completely unaware that it was being blamed for the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus and as a result Hezbollah decided to punish it.

Two weeks before Hezbollah’s mask fell, its media carried a news item that claimed that one of Walid Jumblatt’s men was behind the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh.

The Hezbollah militia clamped down on west Beirut three hours after Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stated in a news conference that the party does not want power and that its weapons are used in defence against other weapons; however before they were used in defence of Lebanon.

In the Lebanese Al Akhbar Newspaper, Nader Fawaz wrote an article published May 20, 2008, entitled ‘The Progression in Three Stages’ in which he outlined Hezbollah’s project. He wrote, “At 1 am on Friday, the military operation achieved all its goals…as the operations in the capital came to an end, the Lebanese are facing the fourth stage: to take a stand in all regions especially Chouf!”

There are numerous similarities between the action that was taken by Israel in the July 2006 war and Hezbollah’s recent performance. When members of Hezbollah killed eight and kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, nobody expected that the Israeli reaction would be so brutal. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that if he had known [that it would have led to a war of this scale] he would not have ordered the operation [to capture the Israeli soldiers].

Let us suppose, argues Brigadier General Wafiq Shukair, that the Lebanese government erred when it issued the order to shut down Hezbollah’s telecommunication network; it may then have also committed a mistake with respect to timing and evaluation since this is not the only kind of money that is not monitored in Lebanon. It works towards privatizing the telephone sector; therefore it was unavoidable that Hezbollah, which has established its own state, completed its telephone network before bringing in other companies. But did such a mistake deserve such harsh punishment for the whole of Lebanon?

The party refused to abide by the UN resolutions and the Lebanese government failed to order the army to apply these resolutions. The government did not even request that the army removes the tents that had been set up in downtown Beirut.

It is untrue that the government sought to provoke conflict between the army and the “resistance” through its recent decision, as argued by Hajj Hussein Khalil, the political assistant of Hezbollah’s Secretary General.

The party was able to hinder the application of government decisions. Similarly, when the Lebanese government wanted to transfer Colonel [Wafiq] Jizzini from the post of head of general security, the Hezbollah party and the Amal movement rejected this and the government backed down and Jezzini remained in his position.

Since the resignation of Shia ministers from government, despite the tension, matters remained under control and there was agreement that Iran did not want civil war in Lebanon.

Today however a change has taken place. Iran has given the green light to Hezbollah to execute the initial plan that Hamas began.

It was a Sunni Palestinian organization that carried out a coup against the [Palestinian] Authority in full coordination with Iran and with logistical support from both Iran and Syria.

Today, the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah has implemented a coup against the authority under the instructions of Iran and Syria. The foursome that consists of Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah, and that has been preparing attacks for two years now, sees that it is only confronted with words and the determination of a large number of Lebanese who challenge this trend that refuses to accept freedom, democracy and dialogue despite the adherence of all Lebanese to freedom, democracy and life in the full sense of the word.

What has pushed Hezbollah to hasten the application of its plan is Iran’s defeat in the Iraqi Sadr City after it set up camps near Tehran for the Sadrist fighters where they were trained by Hezbollah.

As for the Syrian role in this equation, Major General Mohammed Nassif, who is responsible for security affairs and who coordinates with Hezbollah, is in fact also coordinating with the Sadrist trend.

Iran, as well as Syria, wanted to show off its strength in Lebanon to America, while Hezbollah sought revenge on Walid Jumblatt who was the first to challenge the “veneration” of its secretary general. It wanted to humiliate him on his own territory of Chouf, but how would [Druze leader] Prince Talal Arslan benefit if he won over the sword of Hezbollah but lost himself?

As for [Hezbollah official] Hajj Hussein Khalil who said that Sayyed Nasrallah did not want personal revenge on Walid Jumblatt, he failed to tell us why Hezbollah fighters entered Aley and Chouf.

It has taken many years for Hezbollah to build up the status of its leader and arms even though many Lebanese are unconvinced by the justifications for the accumulation of weapons even if many Arabs and Muslims have been won over.

Hezbollah needs many more years to regain the trust of the Lebanese and it is possible that it may have been lost forever. It could achieve victory now; however, this victory would be bittersweet. No Lebanese would accept a sectarian-based system. Hezbollah knows that Iran’s reputation is discredited. It is a large state that is rich in natural resources. However, when Lebanon’s reputation is brought down in such a manner, it will transform into a hotbed of terrorism and chaos. The repercussions of Hezbollah’s war against the country might thrust it back into the Middle Ages.

The party claims that it “liberates” regions and then hands them over to the army. What kind of plan does it follow? Does it believe that its creation of battles gives it the right to disarm the rest of the Lebanese? And who is to strip it of its weapons? Would the army surrender if the party, with the support and help of both Iran and Syria, is able to strip all Lebanese of their weapons and dignity, in order to confront the army face to face? The army would then be defeated and Hezbollah would then have the opportunity to take over the whole of Lebanon if it is allowed to do so. Every time Hezbollah commits an error, the price is paid by Lebanon in its entirety. The fear is that Lebanon may not be able to bear the heavy price this time especially if Al Qaeda’s convoys rush to Lebanon to help the Sunnis there.

Before it is too late, Hezbollah, which says that it is Lebanese, must keep its eye on the point of no return. Hezbollah’s advocates justify the money that it receives from Iran on the basis that this money supports the resistance even though this resistance in particular disrupts the livelihood of every Lebanese.

In the eyes of the Lebanese, the resistance has two heads: one that claims that it is resisting Israel and the other that has emerged and wants to destroy and wipe out the rest of the Lebanese.

Hezbollah must know that it represents the Shia in Lebanon; therefore it must avoid the methods that were adopted by the Syrian regime towards the Lebanese throughout the occupation that led to the Lebanese venting all of their anger at the Syrian people.

The rational Lebanese Shia must remind Hezbollah of the fact that they are not part of the Iranian nation. The following question remains: Will Syria, which is known as “the heart of Arabism,” accept that Lebanon becomes a “statelet” affiliated to Iran rather than an Iranian “statelet”?