hassan nasrallah 311.
(photo credit: AP)
During the 1990s, before more sophisticated security technology had evolved and
when it was far simpler to breach and decrypt data, any hacker in northern
Israel and southern Lebanon could have deciphered and recorded on his home VCR
information from overflying Israeli drones. Therefore, when Hizbullah chief
Hassan Nasrallah bragged last week about a colossal feat of decoding drone
photographs and thereby waylaying Israeli commandos in 1997, he was,
unsurprisingly, exaggerating the achievement as part of his ongoing
Nasrallah is a proven master at toying with our
emotions and those of both his supporters and foes in Lebanon. His
sound-and-light show, replete with dramatic music which accompanied the
projected slides, must be considered against this background.
Hizbullah chief was dredging up a 13-year-old incident to reopen Israeli wounds
over the deaths of 12 Shayetet 13 fighters, as well as retrigger speculation and
possible recriminations within Israel. Nasrallah was also out to boast about
supposed superior intelligence-gathering capabilities. But most of all, he was
dragging in any red herrings he could to obstruct and/or reframe the Hariri
NASRALLAH HAS consistently resorted to a
combination of cold, calculated mendacity and terror to try to lower morale in
Israel and boost it within his own powerbase.
But in this instance, he
has more than the classic goals of propaganda in mind. Nasrallah is
near-desperate because the international probe into the February 14, 2005
assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri is on the verge of
completion, and odds are that Hizbullah will be declared the culprit.
of Lebanon – including current Prime Minister Saad Hariri (son of the
assassination victim) – shudders at the possible consequences.
feared is a repeat of the May 7, 2008 Hizbullah attack on Beirut and Druse
townships. Nasrallah was directly asked about this at his press conference last
Monday and significantly made sure to keep his threat viable by replying that
all his options remained open. This was a blatant signal to the Lebanese
government that there will be hell to pay unless it intercedes and preempts a
finding from the UN tribunal liable to destabilize the country.
service of derailing the probe, and seeking to press the Lebanese government to
cease all cooperation with the tribunal, Nasrallah sought to deflect the blame
for the car-bombing that killed Hariri onto Israel – the perpetual all-purpose
villain. To build up his “case,” he presented a worthless mélange of chatter and
supposed visual corroboration.
This included released IDF footage of
rescue attempts in the aftermath of the 1997 ambush, along with unidentified
aerial shots – some of which could have been downloaded at the time, while
others could have originated from any light plane and helicopter or even from
available Internet images.
Whatever the veracity, none of this disjointed
concoction is relevant. None of it was, or could be, convincingly connected to
the Hariri murder and none could conceivably ever constitute relevant material
in any selfrespecting court of law.
Nasrallah’s tactic was to overwhelm
his audience with a deluge of immaterial information in the hope that the sheer
confluence of confusing quantities would serve as a smoke screen and cloud
reason. Hence also the curious contention that if Israel warned Rafik Hariri
that he was in danger, then Israel wasn’t striving to save him but, rather,
setting him up.
Nasrallah cynically peddled large quantities of
But he presented not a shred of proof linking Israel to the
Hariri assassination. Indeed, he didn’t even manage anything tenuously
resembling circumstantial evidence.
All this, however, isn’t to say that
Nasrallah’s allegations, absurd and self-serving though they be, should be
scornfully pooh-poohed by Israel.
Ours is not a region renowned for
It’s not implausible that a terrified Lebanese
establishment, along with Iran and Syria – both of which have cogent reasons to
cover up the truth – would at some point seize on the fabrications proffered by
This could in no time become conventional wisdom throughout
much of Arab public opinion, and from there affect minds in the West, where
Nasrallah plainly hopes it will ultimately expediently skew the
Thus Israel would do well not to allow Nasrallah to push it,
absurdly, into the dock. Israeli officials have already indicated that they are
certain Hizbullah was behind the killing. In the appropriate public and private
forums, within the necessary security limitations, Israel should rebut