Friday, December 22, 2006

Goldberg Got It Right

The chief spokesman for Hezbollah is a narrow-shouldered, self-contained man of about forty named Hassan Ezzeddin, who dresses in the style of an Iranian diplomat: trim beard, dark jacket, white shirt, no tie. His office is on a low floor of an apartment building in the southern suburbs of Beirut, which are called the Dahiya. Hezbollah has five main offices there, and all are in apartment buildings, which helps to create a shield between the bureaucracy and Israeli fighter jets and bombers that periodically fly overhead. The shabby offices are sparsely furnished; apparently, the idea is to be able to dismantle them in half an hour or less, in case of an Israeli attack.

The above appeared in this article way back in 2002.

Too bad Israel's hasbara units didn't parade this out last summer.

And someone, including our army intelligence officers, should have been paying more attention to these excerpts there:-

[Spokesman] Ezzeddin is proud of the victory over Israel in South Lebanon, two years ago, and he spoke at length about the reasons for Hezbollah's success. He quoted a statement of Hezbollah's leader, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, made shortly after the Israeli withdrawal: "I tell you: this 'Israel' that owns nuclear weapons and the strongest air force in this region is more fragile than a spiderweb." Ezzeddin explained that Ehud Barak pulled out his troops because the soldiers—and their mothers—feared death. This isn't true for Muslims, he said. "Life doesn't end when you die. To us, there is real life after death. Reaching the afterlife is the goal of life. Once you have in mind the goal of dying, you stop fearing the Jews."


Ezzeddin seemed to concede that the Hezbollah campaign to rid Shebaa of Israeli troops is a pretext for something larger. "If they go from Shebaa, we will not stop fighting them," he told me. "Our goal is to liberate the 1948 borders of Palestine," he added, referring to the year of Israel's founding. The Jews who survive this war of liberation, Ezzeddin said, "can go back to Germany, or wherever they came from." He added, however, that the Jews who lived in Palestine before 1948 will be "allowed to live as a minority and they will be cared for by the Muslim majority." Sayyid Nasrallah himself told a conference held in Tehran last year that "we all have an extraordinary historic opportunity to finish off the entire cancerous Zionist project."

The video began with Israeli soldiers firing on Palestinians. Then the screen filled with pictures of Palestinians carrying the wounded to ambulances, followed by an angry funeral scene. Suddenly, the scene shifted to Israelis under fire. An Israeli soldier was on the ground, rocking back and forth, next to a burning jeep; this was followed by scenes of Jewish funerals, with coffins draped in the Israeli flag being lowered into graves.

Mansour pressed a button, and the images disappeared from the screen. "The idea is that even if the Jews are killing us we can still kill them. That we derive our power from blood. It's saying, 'Get ready to blow yourselves up, because this is the only way to liberate Palestine.' '' The video, he said, would be shown after the next attack in Israel. He said he was thinking of calling it "We Will Kill All the Jews." I suggested that these videos would encourage the recruitment of suicide bombers among the Palestinians. "Exactly," he replied.

and, more importantly, this:-

The Israelis believe that in South Lebanon Hezbollah has more than eight thousand rockets, weapons that are far more sophisticated than any previously seen in the group's arsenal. They include the Iranian-made Fajr-5 rocket, which has a range of up to forty-five miles, meaning that Israel's industrial heartland, in the area south of Haifa, falls within Hezbollah's reach. One intelligence official put it this way: "It's not tenable for us to have a jihadist organization on our border with the capability of destroying Israel's main oil refinery."

Hezbollah officials told me that they possessed no rockets whatsoever. But one reporter who has covered Hezbollah and the South for several years said he believes that Hezbollah has established a "balance of terror" along the border. The reporter, Nicholas Blanford, of the Beirut English-language newspaper the Daily Star, said that he is "pretty certain" that Hezbollah has "extensive weaponry down there, stashed away." He added, "Their refrain is, we're ready for all eventualities."

Blanford, who has good sources in the Hezbollah leadership, said, "They seem to be convinced that sooner or later there's going to be an Israeli-Arab conflict. In the long term, Israel cannot put up with this threat from Hezbollah."

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