Nasrallah: We Told Lebanese We’d Abduct Israeli Soldiers
MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute) is a great resource, because they have this nasty habit of showing and translating what the Arabs say in Arabic to other Arabs. For example, a recent transcript from an appearance by Hizbullah’s Hassan Nasrallah on Al-Jazeera (they have the video, too), in which he makes a few important admissions you won’t hear on CNN:
- He was obviously surprised by condemnation from Arab governments, and blames them for the strength of Israel’s reaction.
- He told the Lebanese they were going to abduct Israeli soldiers.
- He will call it a “victory” as long as even one of his terrorists still fires his weapon.
The third of these is, of course, relevant to my post of a few days ago, in which I asked:
The question now is whether to allow Hamas to save face by promising a later prisoner release (whether or not the prisoners in question were up for release in any case), or to press forward until Hamas breaks down entirely, and releases Shalit without conditions. That honestly might happen, given the current concessions as discussed—but then again, intransigence could backfire.
It is possible that in the coming days, Hizbollah will be in the same situation as Hamas — backed against the wall. If they refuse to acknowledge defeat, yet it’s the obvious reality, is Israel obligated to keep fighting?
The Israelis are fighting for limited objectives, not to take over Lebanon. If they feel they’re done, they should call it a day, regardless of how Hezbollah feels.
As far as trading prisoners, I’m fine with that – just so long as Hezbollah’s ability to fire rockets at Israel is gone, either by an effective multinational force, or by Israel pounding the snot out of them.
The problem with listening to a liar is that you don’t know which statements to believe.
1. Nasrallah was probably surprised by the strength of the Arab governments’ condemnation. After all, he is doing that old crowd pleaser, the attack on Israel “skit”. However, circumstances have changed.
Most of the Arab world really does see Israel as a proxy for the US. The US used to be considered a drowsy giant which sleeps most of the time and doesn’t have the energy to hurt Muslim dictators directly. Now, however, the US has recently taken over two Muslim countries. George Bush is talking about regime changes in the rest of the Middle East.
Now is not a good time for an Arab government to put itself on the US’s target list. Iran is already there, with Syria to keep it company. Nobody wants to join them. The best things for dictators who rule Arab countries right now is to lie low, wait, and hope that the US elects a less scary president in 2008.
2. He may or may not have told the Lebanese government in advance. Right now it is in his best interest to say he did, and that the Lebanese government is on his side. On the other hand, this attack relied on secrecy. The less people knew about it in advance, the better for Hizballah.
3. He’s an Arab leader. As long as he has breath, he’ll claim to have won. Remember the Iraqi propaganda minister telling the world about the US loss as the US military was fighting in Baghdad.