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Calling in favors

As the eyes of the international community fall on a Syria that continues to spiral out of control, there are other rumors—founded or unfounded, it remains to be seen—that the region may be heading for another sideshow conflict in the shape of a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. While such an event has been predicted for many years now, it would be a move of breathtaking silliness, should the Israelis actually carry it out, not least because, according to military analysts, it probably wouldn’t achieve its military aims; it would only foment greater regional instability, perhaps even offering a lifeline to the embattled Assad regime in Damascus. We are also in an American election year, and the last thing Israel’s main sponsor wants is a war as it heads to the polls.
 
Another side effect, a scenario on which almost everyone is agreed, is that an Israeli strike would draw an immediate military response from Iran’s regional proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, with the latter expected to open up a front on Israel’s northern border. This in turn, we can safely assume, would draw an uncompromising response from the Israelis who, having been humiliated in the 2006 summer war, have made it clear that in the next “round” of fighting the gloves will come off, and the Lebanese government, now effectively run by Hezbollah, will, unlike in 2006, be held responsible for the act of aggression. Back then, with over 1,000 dead, 1 million displaced and billions of dollars in damage, the war was, in the famous words of Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, a “divine victory.” One shudders at the prospect of a reversal.
 
But that is neither here nor there. In 2006 it was Hezbollah, not the government, that dragged Lebanon—wittingly or unwittingly—into war, something that is often overlooked by the hysteria surrounding Israel’s clearly disproportionate response to the cross-border raid that triggered the conflict. The incident was a terrifying reality-check that the nation was hostage to the military ambitions of one party and there was very little we could, or can, do about it.
 
Since then, and since the passing of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, a ruling that called for the eventual disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, Hezbollah has made no secret of its ambitions to rearm in anticipation of a rematch. Party officials speak quite candidly, in private at least, that such an eventuality is not a case of “if” but “when.” The Israelis hold a similar sentiment. Both sides expect any outcome to be decisive, verging on the existential.
 
It is a reality of political life in Lebanon today that Hezbollah will clearly never disarm simply because at least half the Lebanese feel that having a militia that operates outside the authority of the state is essentially a bad thing. We can only hope that, away from the fiery martial rhetoric, the Party of God will think long and hard before subjecting its constituents, let alone the rest of the country, to another terrifying war.
 
But the Iranian scenario throws up new calculations. Will an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities prompt Tehran to call in arguably the biggest favor of all? Given what’s at stake, it would be nice if Hezbollah told the Lebanese what it would do should such a scenario come to pass. Will it stand by its claim that it is essentially a nationalist Shia party with an Iranian-inspired ideology and promise that a military action over 2,000 kilometers to the east will not drag it into a war that might very well catapult Lebanon back to the stone age? Will it promise restraint? We have a right to know.
 
The likelihood is that Hezbollah will not allow itself to be cornered on such an issue. If pushed, the party would no doubt baffle us with half-speak, reinforce the total commitment of the Resistance to protecting Lebanese sovereignty and question the patriotism of anyone who thought otherwise. In the meantime, we continue to live in the knowledge that we could be taken to a war not of our making by a man who holds no public office and who takes his orders from the Iranian president. 
 
When will we wake up?

  • Hassan

    Agree with misaacm; Nasrallah is busy translating from Persian & reading instruction form Iran on what to do when Iran is attacked. He is too busy that he forgot what he said in his speech: wanted free the holly sites; I don’t see him mention anything on the event that happened in the holy site on Sunday 2/12/12; Aqsa Mosque. But again, may be he meant Mecca not the Aqsa. To be fair, & since there are countries with nuclear weapons, any country has the right to own nuclear weapons whether it was Iran or Zimbabwe. However, not when it comes to using this power to bluntly states you want to wipe countries off the face of earth. You may say that Israel would like to do that, I say true but they never said it like Iran. The words Holocaust & Israel becoming so scared that people beg to free Malaysian guy insulting prophets but no one was behind the great journalist Helen Thomas. Iran knows well they can’t say that, yet asks for nuclear weapons. I wonder if this is just propaganda.

    February 14, 2012

  • misaacm

    The real question is; who does Hezbollah serve? Does it serve the Lebanese people or the Iranian leadership. To me, it looks like they serve the Iranian first and foremost. That means that if the Israelis launch an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities (I hope not), then the Mullahs will tell their employees, I mean associates, in Hezbollah to start raining missiles on Israeli civilians. Hezbollah will do so, and following standard operating procedure, then go and hide behind Lebanese civilians so that more of them will be killed. If the people of Lebanon don't want to be dragged into a war (again) for the benefit of Hezbollah, you should join the voices in Europe and the US telling the Iranians to ratchet down the nuclear/wipe Israel off the map rhetoric. It might be your only chance.

    February 13, 2012

  • Charles G. Bedran

    Where does a four ton elephant sits? ...Were ever the elephant wants. Lest not forget that; Absolute power - corrupts absolutely.

    February 11, 2012

  • Henricanan

    Now you have the answer, so to say .. Nasrallah himself will decide that he will destroy Lebanon to punish Israel if it decides to get rid of the Iranian threat, as he got rid of the threat hezbollahi in 2006. If I were Lebanese and knowing the perversity of the Takia, I fear even more than yesterday.

    February 8, 2012

  • Hassan

    What a speech by Nasrallah. “United” on what? Killing innocent people in Syria? ”world will not allow Muslims to be united” We haven’t been united since the seventh century before the Shah, US and Israel existed. “The aim of this nation is Palestine”? What nation? And till when we are going to wait till he frees Palestine? ‘Shia tide is an invention?’ No, it is a fantasy and he is a good example of the tide taking power and control over the billion. And before he mentions the fake planned victory, why not answer why it is started. “Syrian situation is based on a vision”, He needs to stop seeing the same eye doctor. “Why overthrow Bashar”? For fun, like the 2006 war; we have nothing else to do. Vague speech or not, still actions speak louder than words and facts don’t lie. People of many powerful countries with different religions are not united but they dwell on morals and justice. I am sure the request not to overthrow the cabinet will be taken into consideration.

    February 8, 2012

  • ROSENVALD

    By JPOST.COM STAFF 02/07/2012 22:28 Nasrallah says Tehran will not dictate to Hezbollah how to react to Israeli strike on nuclear facilities.

    February 8, 2012

  • ROSENVALD

    Nashalla dont whant another "divine victory". He dont will do "suicide" for Irãn.

    February 7, 2012

  • ROSENVALD

    In 2.006, Irãn did not shot one single scud in Israel. Them just did guive guns.Them did not waste persian blood for lebanon. So What Hezboolla will destroy Lebanon for them??

    February 7, 2012

  • Abou Ali

    r, Mahmoud, you are so wrong! Israel DID NOT attack Lebanon in 2006. Israel was provoked by Hezbollah and retaliated. War is shit, and Bombardment is bad. Indiscriminately, well ask Hezbollah where were they sending their missiles into Israel. No my friends, if Israel is provoked, it has every right to retaliate, and May God have mercy upon us this time....

    February 7, 2012

  • NN

    what is an agent? ... it is the person who puts ahead another country's interest over his country...Hezbollah will do war for Iran and Syria,thus destroying lebanese interests (iran and syria both watched us in 2006.. why not just watch them in 2012 ?)... and hence hezbollah are iranian agents operating in Lebanon ... in any normal countries they should be sent to jail and beheaded, just like they do with israeli agents.. an agent is an agent no matter what country he follows... coming back to our subject and what lebanon interest would be: hezbollah claims he did a divine victory... well let's preserve this "victory" and start nogtioting peace with israel! ... this way we will avoid another war, and we would do peace from the strong point... Napoleon said: I only make peace when I win... we won.. NO MORE WARS FOR LEBANON'S SAKE!!!! ... let us not risk another war where not only our country will get burnt to the ground.. but we will no longer be able to rebuild it

    February 7, 2012

  • Hassan

    r, you don’t have to belong to any number to know wrong from right. An outsider should have more logic and see better picture. However, I am glad you admitted it is a BIG thing. Let’s not make it bigger? It doesn’t take a Psychic to know the bigger is coming. Reality is that Hezboallah in 2006 dragged Lebanon into this war. Reality, Hezboallah will interfere in Syria & Iran for its own survival and innocent people will be killed. Reality is that they have motive to be suspect in Rafik’s murder. Zionist, as you called them, is not a country, just a group like Hezboallah; the only difference is that Zionist seriously cares about their country. Israel was, is, and will always kill innocent people. It is time for treaty, like many others doing, and live without the phobia of war; or who is going to killed next. Reality is that only the Lebanese army should be on the Lebanese land. Oh and 1 more thing, next time the US veto on any issue you want to pass, let’s not forget China & Russia.

    February 7, 2012

  • Henricanan

    What do you expect from Hezbollah? to reveals its true nature? to say openely what he is in Lebanon? that is to say : the Das Reich Divizion Iranian mullahs? If he had to say what he would do, he would tell you he will obey the orders like a robot from Tehran. Otherwise what interest would have Iran replacement Amal by Hezbollah? -recall to "r" - with a bloody battle in the Shiite camp that claimed thousands of victims as rightly recalls the former secretary general of Hezbollah, Sobhi Toufayli, became his nemesis. Do you need more proof? What did proclam the young Nasrallah, Khom back where it was formed, in the case of Lebanon? "We will install here a power subject to Wilayat Al faqih, here and throughout the region." look at his statement (...) Lebanese, my dear friends, you really have no chance to try to remain what you are against all odds!

    February 7, 2012

  • noname

    Mr. r. Did you experience the 2006 war at all? Did you go to the south and see the aftermath and talk to the people living there? Considering the kind of war that was fought, the Israeli army was quite specific in choosing their targets. They would bomb one apartment out of a whole building block, or pick a moped carrying rockets on the road. When you talk about indiscriminately bombard it's worth remembering what they received Lebanon. Furthermore, you claim Israel is a system that strives on racism and oppression. This makes me wonder if you live in Lebanon at all. How do the Lebanese treat their house maids or people from what they consider "lower class"? How do they treat each-other between sects? You should look into our own back yard and keep an open mind. PS: I'm not affiliated by any political group, and I Love Lebanon as a country.

    February 7, 2012

  • NK

    They already answered that question. when Hezbollah said that they would attack Israel if Syria was attacked, this carred a secondary degree message saying "if we would do this for Syrian, imagine what we would do for Iran". Direct threats sometimes cannot be made. God help us...

    February 7, 2012

  • R

    first lets b clear I'm neither march 8 nor march 14. second when you say "the incident was a terrifying reality-check that the nation was hostage to the military ambitions of one party and there was very little we could, or can, do about it" well here is where i question this reasoning....wasnt the reality check that israel shot destroyed killed murdered innocent people indiscriminately...you will argue that theyre claiming they re doing it in self-defence (and that is also wat the zionists argue) but does that giv them the right to indiscriminately bombard people? that is the reality check my dear writer, that israel is a system (especially its military) that strives on racism and oppression...if israel is a footnote of history, hizbulla is the footnote of the footnote, we should stop making it a thing bigger than what it is

    February 6, 2012

  • Mahmoud

    well said!

    February 6, 2012