Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Some quotes from Lebanon's leaders: `Hezbolah freed our country'
One of the fictions being promulgated during the war between Israel and Hezbollah is that the sovereign Lebanese government is a disinterested, neutral bystander caught in violence not of its own making.
This is a blatant lie, frankly.if nothing else, major elements of the Lebanese government fully supported Hezbollah's actions...until there was a price to pay.
Today, Der Spiegel published an interview with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud. The entire interview is rife with falsehoods, but here are a few of the jucier excerpts:
SPIEGEL: Should the kidnapped soldiers, as Israel demands, be returned without conditions? Or do you consider it legitimate to use them as a bargaining chip?
Lahoud: The exchange of prisoners has always worked perfectly in the past. The Germans above all were very helpful in this process. It is unclear whether that will happen this time. It's a charged atmosphere.
(In other words, Lahoud approves of the attack on Israeli territory by Hezbollah. Kind of like the thief that isn't sorry he stole, but is very indignant at being caught and having to pay the penalty!)
SPIEGEL:Please explain your relationship to Hezbollah. What do you think of Hassan Nasrallah?
Lahoud :Hezbollah enjoys utmost prestige in Lebanon, because it freed our country. All over the Arab world you hear: Hezbollah maintains Arab honor, and even though it (Hezbollah) is very small, it stands up to Israel. And of course Nasrallah has my respect.
(Now, wouldn't you think that the people responsible for starting the war and the violence and for getting so many people killed would enjoy less than `respect and utmost prestige' from Lebanon's president?)
And it's not just Lahoud. As I reported earlier, Lebanon's foreign minister Fawzi Salloukh made a point of telling the UAE based Khaleej Times that the Israeli hostages are 'in good health and in a safe place'.
Which means Sallkouh obviously knows where the soldiers are being held.
Which makes him and major elements in the Lebanese government complicit, no matter how you try and spin it.
Six years ago, Israel withdrew from Lebanon under what was supposedly an iron-clad peace deal brokered by the UN and accepted by the Lebanese government. The agreement was was that Hezbollah would be disarmed and that U.N. forces would aid the Lebanese government in both disarming Hezbollah, eliminating terrorist attacks and controlling its internationally recognized borders with Israel.
Israel honored that commitment, even in the face of extreme provocation. Lebanon, aided and abetted by the UN did not.
Hezbollah deliberately started this war - most likely at the behest of Iran to take the spotlight off of the controversy with Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions- by launching an attackkidnapping Israeli soldiers inside Israel’s borders, and has been launching rockets against Israeli civilians that Hezbollah is not even supposed to possess under the terms of the 2000 agreement.
The UNIFIL pewcekeepers and the Lebanese government did absolutely nothing to disarm Hezbollah or stop them from building up their arsenal, importing heavy weapons and rockets from Iran and Syria, and essentially creating what has become the de facto Lebanese army and a law unto themselves.
Plainly, neither the Lebanese government nor its friends in Hezbollah were expecting the heavy Israeli response. But sometimes, when you open a door, you get what you ask for.