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HEADLINES

Israel’s offensive on Hezbollah!

Dr. Richard L. Benkin writes from USA

In 1981, Israeli pilots carried out a raid on Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor, destroying it and effective ending the dictator’s nuclear program.  Publicly, the world condemned them for it.  There was even the usual—and by now meaningless—UN resolution.  Then Vice President George Bush (Sr.) was particularly venomous in his condemnations.  Yet, privately, the world breathed a sigh of relief.  Nations worldwide were frightened upon learning that Hussein had a nuclear reactor.  He had not hesitated to use poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction on Kurds and Iranians; nor did he wince at the million plus who died in the Iran-Iraq War.  Privately, these same nations applauded Israel for doing what they knew needed to be done.  American officials from the Reagan Administration, which was in power at the time, have since said “Thank God,” the Israelis took out the reactor.  By doing so, they saved countless American and other coalition lives.  How different would have been the fate of Kuwait had Hussein seized it with nuclear arms behind him?

In 2006, the world is seeing a reprise of these events, but with a slight twist.  At this point, while the world formally condemns the death of Lebanese civilians, its various bodies have refrained from taking action or even issuing strong statements.  The United Nations has yet to act.  Even the normally anti-Israeli Secretary General Kofi Annan while condemning Israel has likewise condemned Hezbollah and admitted that obtaining a ceasefire is beset by many complications.  The Security Council has refused to act, its members being split on the issue.  There have been some countries that take an almost knee-jerk anti-Israeli stance that have been silent.  Others—Bangladesh and Malaysia, the only two major Muslim nations not to publicly meet with Israel after its Gaza withdrawal, being two of them—have seen individuals make anti-Israel statements, but have not seen any official communiqué on the matter.  But perhaps most significant is the lack of a condemning statement by the Arab League.

Called into emergency session, the League opened with a unilateral statement by its head, Amr Moussa, strongly condemning Israel; but his sentiments were not echoed by the League itself.  There was a clear rift between Iran and Syria on the one hand and much larger group of states including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and the Fatah/Palestinian Authority.  All of them put the blame for the current fighting on Hezbollah.  The Saudi foreign minister stated, “it is necessary to make a distinction between legitimate resistance and uncalculated adventures adopted by certain elements within Lebanon without the knowledge of legal Lebanese authorities….these elements must take responsibility for their irresponsible actions and they alone should end the crisis created by them.”  In its final communiqué, the League criticized Hezbollah, not Israel.

There were more unprecedented actions. Abdullah bin Jabreen, a highly respected Wahabist cleric, issued a fatwa declaring it unlawful to support, join or pray for Hezbollah,” and he advised Sunnis to “denounce them.”  Kuwaiti Sheik Hamid al-Ali issued a statement condemning Hezbollah’s and Iran.  Perhaps Ahmed Al-Jarallah,
Editor-in-Chief of the Arab Times put it most succinctly.  “People of Arab countries, especially the Lebanese and Palestinians, have been held hostage for a long time in the name of ‘resisting Israel’….Forgetting the interests of their own countries the Hamas Movement and Hezbollah have gone to the extent of representing the interests of Iran and Syrian in their countries. These organizations have become the representatives of
Syria and Iran without worrying about the consequences of their action.”
Added commentator Youssef Ibrahim, “
Rarely have I seen such an uprising, indeed an intifada, against those little turbaned, bearded men across the Muslim landscape as the one that took place last week. The leader of Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, received a resounding ’no’ to pulling 350 million Arabs into a war with Israel on his clerical coattails.”

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been the military and political leader and religious and economic leader of the Arab world and its fight against Israel.  But something has changed.  It appears that most of the world has recognized that Iran poses a far greater threat to them than Israel does.  Further, those same countries see Hezbollah and Hamas as being nothing more than Iran’s proxies, or more accurately canon fodder.  Moreover, all of those groups threaten to bring chaos, something that no stable society can accept.  Regardless of their traditional alliances in the Middle East conflict, these nations understand that domestically in Gaza and Lebanon, Hamas and Hezbollah respectively flout one of the most important elements in any social structure: the rule of law.  Both have maintained independent militias; and even with Hamas having won the last election, its fighters remain independent of any government police force.  Internationally, the groups (and their patron Iran) bring the same contempt for the law.

As the editor of the Arab Times wrote, “Unfortunately we must admit that in such a war the only way to get rid of these irregular phenomena is what Israel is doing. The operations of Israel in Gaza and Lebanon are in the interest of people of Arab countries and the international community.”

And the international community appears to agree.  Much like they did in 1981, that community will get around to engaging in its great love of Israel-bashing.  It will blame Israel for the death of innocents, rather than the terrorists who fire rockets and dig tunnels from crowded neighborhoods, using women and children as human shields.  Yet, the nations and their citizens will be safer.  And, who knows, maybe the experience will lead to a real clamp on Iran’s nuclear program, with which that country already has threatened others.  Publicly, they will condemn Israel and say all the things their media have taught their people they are supposed to say.  But they will breathe a collective sign of relief that one of the threats to order in the world today has been neutralized—and neutralized without any of them sacrificing a single soldier or taking a single risk.  Privately, they will once again be saying, “Horray for Israel.”

Posted on 25 Jul 2006 by Weeklyblitz
 
 
 
 
 


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