Nasrallah, again

Gov't needs to show world danger of Hizbullah.

nasrallah 298 88 ch2 (photo credit: Channel 2)
nasrallah 298 88 ch2
(photo credit: Channel 2)
During most of last week, Israel was uniquely preoccupied with large civil defense drills. These exercises encapsulate our existential predicament. No other society faces the dangers that Israel does and none, therefore, needs to make the effort that we must to perfect defensive preparations. The fact that assorted rescue teams had to rehearse responses to nonconventional attacks attests loudly to the nature of our enemies and their menace.
If a shred of a doubt lingered about the necessity of practicing skills to contend with whatever is unleashed upon us, Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah drove home the point. He sought to portray Israel’s defensive drills as the sinister camouflaging of offensive maneuvers, and simultaneously surpassed the excesses of his previous bellicose tirades.
He began the latest harangue by serving notice on Israel that its entire territory is now vulnerable to rocket attack (thereby admitting that he and the Lebanese government have utterly contravened the terms of Security Council Resolution 1701 via massive arms running).
Next, Nasrallah threatened to attack Israel’s main international airport. Soon thereafter he screamed that all Israel’s sea ports were in his gun sights and that not a single vessel would be safe if conflict erupted.
Nasrallah has never been a master of understatement, but in recent months the frequency, intensity and arrogance of his outbursts has escalated. His invective quotient has appreciably amplified since Hizbullah was co-opted into the Lebanese governing coalition under Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
WITH ITS formal accession to the establishment, Hizbullah can no longer be dismissed as a rogue militia. Hariri, whose father, Rafik, was assassinated by Syrian cohorts in 2005, has, sadly, now become Syria’s obsequious lackey. Tolerating Hizbullah is part of the package that accords him Damascus’s “protection.”
Israel has repeatedly stressed that it holds Beirut responsible for Hizbullah aggression, warning that Lebanon won’t escape punishment should Nasrallah again attack Israel. In their heart of hearts, Lebanon’s masses know that he again risks putting them in harm’s way. To deflect domestic criticism, Nasrallah speaks of retaliation against Israeli air and sea ports.
Under the watchful eye of the Syrians, Hariri unsurprisingly prefers to sidestep all that. In an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times last week (reprinted in Thursday’s Jerusalem Post), he managed to ignore the rearming of Hizbullah by both Syria and Iran. He feigned innocence, or made excuses, by arguing that “desperate people will do desperate things.”
Essentially, Hariri is now condoning the actions of the Teheran/Damascus axis, while diverting attention from the fact that he has ushered one of the world’s most treacherous terrorist organizations into the heart of Lebanon’s governance, effectively becoming Hizbullah’s puppet.
Hariri was forced to go to Bashar Assad, cap in hand, pleading to turn over “a new page.”
The founder of Lebanon’s erstwhile anti-Syrian front – launched with much fanfare on March 14, 2005 – now embraces the very despots he accused of murdering his father. He has of late been pleading Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s case as well.
Hariri’s capitulation underscores more than personal vicissitudes. It marks the effective end of the March 14 Alliance and with it of the tattered remains of Lebanese independence. Syria withdrew its troops from Lebanon in 2005, yet its stranglehold on its neighbor has only tightened, with Hizbullah actively abetting Syrian hegemony.
While the international community clamors for the establishment of aPalestinian state, it acquiesces with quiet equanimity in thedestruction of another Arab state’s sovereignty. The world too readilyoverlooks this, just as it systematically disregards the frighteningand explosive arsenal it has allowed Hizbullah to amass despite UNblandishments and big-power guarantees.
There is mind-boggling global silence about the fact that Israelis areforced to practice life-saving drills while threats on their lives arejeeringly broadcast from Lebanon. This is a tinderbox waiting todetonate.
In the event of renewed conflict, Israel would doubtless once more finditself cynically censured. Whether anyone overseas wants to give Israela hearing on not, our government must do its utmost to at least alertthe international community –diplomatic, media and legal – about whatis shaping up here. Nasrallah’s rhetoric only underlines the urgency.
Last week’s drill made plain to the Israeli public what is at stake.The government needs to do more to communicate the dangersinternationally.