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The face of war

Hezbollah’s agenda is single-minded: destroy any hope for peace
By EDITORIAL  |  August 7, 2006

PARTY OF HATE: “If they [Jews] all gather in Israel,” says Hezbollah chief Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, “It will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”
Meet Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, chief of Hezbollah and — as such — the culprit most responsible for triggering the latest war in the Middle East.

Nasrallah is the new Saddam, the new Bin Laden. Although he is neither a megalomaniac (like Hussein) nor a prophet of international jihad (like Osama), he may yet prove to be a greater threat to international peace than either one.

Hezbollah, bankrolled by Iran and logistically enabled by Syria, is — even by terrorist standards — a political curiosity. Like Al Qaeda, it is extra-national, but it appears to have permanently insinuated itself into Lebanon’s political DNA and seems immune to expulsion. Unlike Hamas, its junior partner in this latest round of fighting, Hezbollah is not Palestinian, although Hezbollah supports the principle of Palestinian statehood. Hezbollah is Shi’a, while Hamas is Sunni. In Iraq, the Sunni and Shi’a are killing each other in a civil war that is escalating with each passing month.

Today’s alliance of convenience between Hezbollah and Hamas appears to prove the old Middle Eastern saw that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Because Israel has endorsed the idea of a Palestinian state in exchange for a Palestinian pledge to recognize Israel’s political legitimacy and its right to exist, those who oppose such acceptance assume that Hamas — like the Palestine Liberation Organization before it — will sooner or later make a deal (even a tepid, half-hearted one) with Israel.

No one in his or her right mind would harbor such a suspicion of Hezbollah, which, in Arabic, means “Party of God.”

Hezbollah is, pure and simple, an agency of hate. That is what makes it appealing to Islamofascists in the East and anti-Semites in the West.

Hassan Nasrallah’s Party of God was founded with the blessing of Ayatollah Khomeini, who in 1979 sanctioned the hostage-taking of 70 Americans. It drove US Marines from their Lebanon peace-keeping mission in 1983 with a massive terrorist bombing that killed 241. And it then went on to pioneer the use of human bombs, the walking, talking, bus-riding bombs that the daily newspapers and television networks refer to as “suicide bombers.”

But Hezbollah should be as well known for its words as for its deeds. Here are just three representative statements made between 1992 and 2002, the first and the third by Nasrallah himself:

“If they [Jews] all gather in Israel it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”

“It is an open war until the elimination of Israel and until the death of the last Jews on earth.”

“They [Jews] are a cancer which is liable to spread at any moment.”

This is — or should be — sobering stuff. But for much of the world, it isn’t. This is not Hitler lite, this is Hitler again.

Remember the name Hassan Nasrallah. We’ll be hearing more of it in the weeks and months to come. He’s done something — or is in the process of doing something — that neither Saddam nor Bin Laden could do. He’s turning back the clock.

Ever since 1977 when Egypt’s Anwar Sadat made his historic visit to Israel to seal with his body his soulful recognition that Israel had a right to exist, the world’s conception of the struggles in the Middle East changed. It was no longer a question of whether Israel would survive. It became a question of accommodation.

This is, of course, an overly optimistic and simplistic gloss. But Sadat was the first Arab leader to establish a new frame of reference. The new context, the new reality he helped found was based on the ideas of hope, coexistence, and — ultimately — peace.

That frame of reference survived his assassination by Islamist extremists in 1981. And it has been sorely tested many times since — as it was after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 by a right-wing Israeli extremist. But it was never destroyed. There is not a chance that Hezbollah today can destroy Israel, although it wants to. What it can do, and is doing, is destroy hope for a lasting peace in the region — the very hope Condoleezza Rice is seeking but fewer today believe is achievable. Hope nourishes. Despair destroys. It’s a stark equation, but there it is.

There is no doubt that the United States is going to have to intervene diplomatically even more strongly than it already has. There is little doubt that Israel is — sooner or later — going to have to make accommodations.

But those facts are asides. The central fact, as it appears to us at this moment, is that the forces of darkness are gaining currency in the world of public opinion, and that could be as threatening in the long run as any military action is in the present.

The reality is that there appears to be no acceptable and achievable outcome. So the best we can hope for is a peace that keeps hope alive. That may be a small victory, an almost negligible victory, but even that could prove to be an irrecoverable defeat for Hezbollah.

  • What democracy wrought
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  • Taking sides
    Letters to the Boston editor: August 11, 2006
  • The brutal truth
    Hezbollah and Hamas, Iran and Syria — not Israel — are to blame for the unexpected war in the Middle East
  • More more >
  Topics: The Editorial Page , Hezbollah , Hezbollah , Hamas ,  More more >
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The face of war
Refreshingly honest writing. Despair destroys - you are correct, despair is the currency of Hezbollah and Hamas and the PLO before them. Israel alone is the only hope in the region, the only home grown democracy, the only viable economy for the future. Let 'em rip.
By natalyar on 08/03/2006 at 12:54:14
The face of war
Israel feeds Hamas and Hesbollah by its murderous actions - killing 20 Gaza and Lebanon civilian for each Israeli. Property damage by Israel is 1000 fold that of Islamists. Likewise, GW Bush feeds Al Qaeda by his invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel undermined moderate Palistinian politicians by refusing to negotiate the release of Palistinian school girls held in its prisons. By over-reacting with violence against Gaza and Lebanon, Israel breeds hate in its victums, driving them to support militant groups. Israel is the one unwilling to accept a cease fire. It wants another pound of flesh - more Hezbollah blood. Futile because its actions generate ten-fold more Hezbollah. The US also creates more enemies for itself from its un-questioning loyalty to Israel, right or wrong. The Phoenix publisher's loyalty to Israel despite the facts costs it credability. World opinion was against the US invading Iraq and is against Israel's current actions, and is correct both times.
By Mark K on 08/03/2006 at 1:43:39
The face of war
This Phoenix article: // details the demonizing of Hezbollah by jews in the US and Israel. Its a propaganda campaign to get the US aligned against Hezbollah while it is in the mood to root-out any labeled terror group. One technique used is undocumented quotes of Nasrallah, which we again see in this editorial.
By Mark K on 08/03/2006 at 2:29:21
The face of war
The final solution is the total annihilation of all opposition to the total annihilation of all opposition. This recent violent escalation in the Middle East is the beginning of the cover for the hyperdeflationary implosion 312 year-old global system. No holds barred...Just like the 1933-1945 bankruptcy reorganization...except this time the USA gets liquidated... You are all just peasants that will be forced to pick sides...That is all you are because you all don't do any of the thinking...The thinking is done for you all... Programs are written and fed to you all and you choose your favorite program and accept it and then follow the program to it's logical conclusion which you all are oblivious of... The USA is marching to it's doom with glee...Like mindless bacteria... I assure you all that outside of the USA the rest of the world is being trained to hate the USA and everyone in the USA is being trained to hate the rest of the world... And the USA is being set up to take the fall for it all when the 312 year old Global system implodes... The USA and Israel are finished...and in the USA and Israel the populations are oblivious...gone...While outside the USA and Israel all eyes have been concentrated on The uSA to watch it go out in a blaze of glory... Really...That is the future since the past dictates the future... In the end the rest of the world will be throwing a party when the USA is a smoldering ruinscape... Really... And the culprits are in Europe...The brains writing the programs you all are following to their logical conclusion with glee...
By greenmountainboy on 08/04/2006 at 11:51:00
The face of war
I agree that the rest of the world hates the US or at least laughs at it. Such a buffoon elected president - one who sexually harasses foreign dignataries (the unsolicited shoulder rub to the German chancellor at the G8), talking with his mouth full and discussing important matters like how long it will take to get home. I think the US is wrong to ally with Israel. There is little upside to it and the big downside of more hatred for the US and terrorist acts. Supporting unjust actions of any nation degrades us. Israel has given us tactics like the pre-emptive strike and targeted assasinations, but has also traded US military secrets to the Russians for Jewish immigrants and attacked the USS Liberty during the '67 war. Israel is not a friend of the US and only Zionist Americans with money and power keep our politicians supplying foreign aid, weapons, and support for Israel. Those Zionists, especially the "neo-cons" got us into the Iraq mess.
By Mark K on 08/04/2006 at 5:39:10
The face of war
I see that noone bothered to take credit for this piece of crap. This is the most pathetic excuse for an article I have ever read. The analysis and reasoning consists of the same hollow moral outrage that got us into Iraq. Allow me to point out some of the oversimplifications and outright lies in this article. 1. "Like Al Qaeda, it is extra-national" Not true. They are funded by Syria and Iran but they aren't interested in exporting their fight with Israel anywhere else. The Shiite members of Hezbollah are not interested in re-establishing the grandeur of the Sunni caliphate the way Al Qaeda is. In fact, Nusrallah explicitly criticized Bin Laden for 9/11. 2.Hezbollah is, pure and simple, an agency of hate As a political party they are an agency of charity for the poor mainly Shiite south of Lebanon. Hezbollah IS south Lebanon. If they were merely an agency of hate they would not have the following they do. 3.this is Hitler again While the quotes you mention are undoubtably more than simple rhetoric, it is not Hezbollah's raison d'etre. You fail to mention that most of Hezbollah's current supporters welcomed the Israeli invasion in the early 80's because they were so sick of the Palestinians. It is Israel's own fault that they botched the occupation. 4.He’s turning back the clock. Which clock would that be? The Shia have never recognized Israel. And there is no danger of Sunnis regressing in this regard since they hate Nusrallah for their own reasons. The fact is that Nusrallah is a danger. But Israel has in the past and continues to fail miserably in facing that danger. Articles like these are shallow attempts to prime the American people to support military intervention in the region. This would be a horrible mistake. Israel has allowed Hezbollah to become far too strong. The only option then is diplomatic.
By msmith on 08/08/2006 at 3:26:01

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