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Israel and the wrath of Hezbollah

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By Hassan Hanizadeh

Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah recently threatened that the Lebanese Islamic movement would take revenge on Israel for the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, triggering panic among the leaders of the Israeli regime.

Mughniyeh, a top Hezbollah commander, was slain in the Syrian capital of Damascus on February 12, 2008, at the hands of Mossad agents. The assassination showed that the Israeli regime had, unfortunately, institutionalized terrorism across the globe.

In a recent speech on the outskirts of Beirut, Nasrallah warned that Israeli leaders would pay a heavy price for Mughniyeh’s slaying. Experience shows the Hezbollah chief is straightforward in his words, and means what he says when adopting a stance on local or foreign issues.

Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah
Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah

Nasrallah also threatened Hezbollah fighters will capture the town of Al-Jalil in northern occupied Palestine should the Zionist regime of Israel attack Lebanon. Nasrallah’s reaction to a possible Israeli strike on Southern Lebanon is the outcome of the recent regional and international developments.

The Middle East, which has entered a new era following the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Tunisian ruler Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, is poised to witness fresh political changes in the future. Such a political makeup will result in the emergence of new movements in Egypt and Jordan against the US and Israel’s unjust treatment of Arab and Muslim nations in the region.

Over the past 30 years, the Muslim nations in the Mideast have witnessed the rise to power of regimes which have given their nations the worst of treatments with the backing of the West, including the US.

The brutal behavior of these dictators led to the emergence of radical parties from within Arab countries. The reason is that Arab dictatorial regimes block all ways to holding mutual dialog.

Bin Ali in Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt exercised the worst forms of dictatorships against their people for 23 and 30 years respectively, which finally led to popular uprisings in both countries.

The toppling of the two dictators has opened up a new horizon before the Muslim nations in the region. In the meantime, other Arab dictators are on the verge of collapse, too.

This political metamorphosis is incontrovertibly not in the interests of Washington and Tel Aviv, as democracy basically negates the hegemony of regional and extra-regional powers.

The downfall of Arab dictators has laid the groundwork for the collapse of the Israeli regime, and a series of dramatic changes will take place in occupied Palestine in the not-too-distant future.

So, Israeli leaders should take Nasrallah’s words seriously when he speaks of Hezbollah’s determination to avenge Mughniyeh’s assassination.

Hezbollah’s operational capabilities to deal a blow to Israel have improved since the 33-day war in 2006 as the field experience from that war helped the Lebanese resistance movement identify the strong and weak points of the Tel Aviv regime.

If the Israeli regime opts to attack Lebanon again, it will undoubtedly face unpredictable response from Hezbollah. The reaction will not be limited to the northern Palestinian territories only as Hezbollah’s scope of operation will stretch from Southern Lebanon to Golan and western Sinai.

During the course of this process, the Israeli regime’s tactical vulnerability will increase, as Tel Aviv will not be able to go into action on different fronts. Although the Middle East’s geographical map will not change with the ouster of Arab dictators, the changes within Arab societies will facilitate the collapse of Israel.

In the 33-day Israeli war on Lebanon, the Egyptian, Jordanian and Saudi regimes covertly lent Tel Aviv intelligence support. However, the current situation is strikingly different from that in 2006. Therefore, the Israeli regime is much more vulnerable now, and any possible aggression against Lebanon will only deteriorate the crisis in the Middle East.

On the other hand, the Hezbollah secretary general has repeatedly announced that the movement reserves the right to hunt for those behind Mughniyeh’s slaying.

Hezbollah expected international bodies to condemn the Israeli regime for assassinating Lebanese figures, but international bodies’ dual interpretation of terrorism has, so far, kept them from doing so.

With the Hariri tribunal just about to announce its verdict on the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister, fresh developments seem to unfold on both domestic and regional fronts.

The issuance of a guilty verdict against Hezbollah leaders may infuriate the movement’s supporters against the ruling global system and Hezbollah knows well that the White House and Tel Aviv are behind the court’s finger-pointing.

If a possible Israeli aggression against Lebanon coincides with the time when the tribunal issues its ruling, Hezbollah will definitely not be left alone in the Arab world and will be supported by the Egyptian, Tunisian, Jordanian and Yemeni nations.

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