Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hezbollah Prepares for War

Tunnel vision: Ready for war against Israel

The Special Tribunal on Lebanon is about to report its findings, probably pointing the finger at Hezbollah's involvement in the Harriri assasination. When this happens, what will Hezbollah do? It may decide to launch an attack on Israel. Here are a couple of reads to scare your boots off:

From The Mess Report, Haaretz: "There have been an increasing number of reports of late hinting at Hezbollah's preparations for a war against Israel. The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai Al-Aam reported on Wednesday that the Shi'ite organization has completed its preparations for a war against Israel, including the construction of an extensive network of tunnels throughout the whole of Lebanon.

"The report comes amidst the threat of an escalation against Israel when the findings of the United Nations tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri - the father of current Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri - are published in the near future.

"According to the report, Hezbollah has completed equipping its arsenal of missiles and weapons and finished building its defensive network against a possible Israeli attack. The network stretches from the length of the Lebanon's coast to the country's mountainous eastern region. According to the same report, the decision whether to go to war or to preserve the quiet is in Hezbollah's hands."

From Now Lebanon: In a fascinating interview with, Thanassis Cambanis, the journalist whose new book, Privilege to Die, paints a very frightening picture of Hezbollah's power within Lebanon and the region through conversations with the group's rank and file. A short excerpt of the interview:

"You argue that Hezbollah is the premier force in the Middle East, and even more dangerous to Israel and the West than Hamas and al-Qaeda. Why do you think this is true, and what makes the group such a threat?

"Cambanis: Hezbollah has effectively created, packaged and sold an idea. And this idea has proven to have mass appeal and has proven popular in varied contexts. They’ve managed to appeal to not just Lebanese Shia but also Lebanese Christians and secular Lebanese. They’ve managed to appeal to Sunnis and Shia outside of the Lebanese context. It’s debatable how influential their idea of Islamic resistance will be in the wider Islamic world, but I believe it has become the trend-setting idea in the wider region. And that has the ability to inspire a lot more ideological indoctrination, a lot more militant activity and a lot more fighting than anything else.

"One of Hezbollah’s central ideas is that Israel really can be defeated by force, not just symbolically, not simply fighting back in order to restore dignity. Hezbollah is fighting Israel in order to win. It’s an old idea that was discarded after ’67 and they brought it back into circulation.

"Frankly, of all the movements I’ve really focused on, Hezbollah’s the only one that’s come up with a sustainable recipe for fighting and engaging in politics, and has come up with a really simple and appealing idea at its core. And that, in my view, makes it much more likely to grow, much more influential and much more dangerous."

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