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by Dilip Hiro
Thursday, Jul. 20, 2006 at 5:42 AM
Soon after the start of the second Palestinian intifada in
September 2000, Hizbullah abducted a former Israeli colonel from inside
Israel. Following tortuous negotiations, in January 2004 Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon exchanged 436 Lebanese prisoners and 59 corpses of
Lebanese soldiers for one Israeli hostage and three corpses of Israeli
soldiers. At the last minute Sharon held back three prominent Lebanese
detainees. Since then Hizbullah has talked about getting them released
by abducting Israeli soldiers. A recent poll showed that more Lebanese
were interested in their release than settling the dispute about the
Shebaa Farm with Israel.
July 18, 2006 12:20 PM
Since it came into being to resist Lebanon's occupation by Israel
after its June 1982 invasion, Hizbullah has a long history of taking
hostages and using them as bargaining chips to achieve its political
aims. After breaking away from the earlier Shia group called Amal,
its leaders formed close links with the contingent of 2,000
Revolutionary Guards sent by Iran to fight the Israeli invaders,
from its base in Baalbekin eastern Lebanon.
As Hizbullah escalated its guerrilla attacks on Israel in southern
Lebanon its military aid from Tehran increased, with Syria acting as
the conduit. Through its (domestic) Martyrs Foundation, Iran sent
funds to Hizbullah to provide health, education and other public
services to the Shia community which, forming two-fifths of the
national population is the largest sectarian group in Lebanon.
Hizbullah assisted Iran by taking western, especially American,
hostages (under such labels as the Organization of the Oppressed of
the Earth) on the basis that their captivity would inhibit US
military intervention in the Iran-Iraq War on the Iraqi side. It
also used American hostages as a means to secure US-made weapons,
clandestinely, for Iran which had been equipped with such arms
before the 1979 revolution.
After the end of the Lebanese civil war in October 1990, Hizbullah
fighters moved to the area adjacent to the Israeli-occupied southern
Lebanon. In late 1991 a three-way swap - involving 450 Lebanese and
Palestinian prisoners, seven dead or captured Israeli soldiers, and
the remaining Western hostages - ended this phase of Hizbullah's
Steadily, it increased its attacks on the Israeli and its surrogate
South Lebanon army targets, pushing the total to 1,200 in 1998.
Unable to bear the pressure, Israel withdraw unconditionally from
southern Lebanon in May 2000, except from the disputed Shebaa Farms.
Soon after the start of the second Palestinian intifada in September
2000, Hizbullah abducted a former Israeli colonel from inside
Israel. Following tortuous negotiations, in January 2004 Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon exchanged 436 Lebanese prisoners and 59
corpses of Lebanese soldiers for one Israeli hostage and three
corpses of Israeli soldiers.
At the last minute Sharon held back three prominent Lebanese
detainees. Since then Hizbullah has talked about getting them
released by abducting Israeli soldiers. A recent poll showed that
more Lebanese were interested in their release than settling the
dispute about the Shebaa Farm with Israel.
Hizbullah's secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah claims that the
leadership had been planning the abduction of Israeli soldiers for
five months. Nonetheless, the flare-up has come at a time when Iran
is under international pressure on its nuclear issue. So mayhem and
diversions in the region suit Tehran. They also provide a foretaste
of what would follow if Israel or America were to mount their
threatened "pinpoint" strikes at Iran's nuclear and military facilities.
Yet, despite repeated Israeli and American claims that Iran and
Syria are behind Hizbullah's moves, no solid evidence has emerged.
That is what led French President Jacques Chirac to say that "I have
the feeling, if not the conviction, that Hamas and Hizbullah would
not have taken the initiative alone."
Quite simply, the alliance between Hizbullah and Iran and Syria is
informal, not institutional. It is part of a broad anti-Washington,
anti-Tel Aviv front led by Tehran in an international context where
the legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council has collapsed
in the Arab and Muslim world.
Washington's vetoing of the Qatari resolution at the Security
Council - which condemned Israel for "disproportionate use of
force", called for the release of the Israeli prisoner and urged the
Palestinians to stop firing rockets at Israel - which won 10 votes,
with four abstentions, was a glaring example of its denigration of
the highest authority on international security.
"The situation in Lebanon and Palestine is a test for international
organizations who claim to be defenders of human rights," said
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "Keeping silent won't solve
Those who now invoke Security Council Resolution 1559 of September
2004, passed by the minimum requirement of nine votes, calling on
all Lebanese militias to disarm, lack moral authority. They should
remember that Israel defied Security Council Resolution 425 of March
1978 demanding its unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon for 22 years.
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|Red Alert: Confusion Before the Storm
||Thursday, Jul. 20, 2006 at 7:20 PM
|It started with Hamas kidnapping an Israeli soldier
||Friday, Jul. 21, 2006 at 6:40 AM
||Hezbollah War crimes against Arabs
||Friday, Jul. 21, 2006 at 7:14 AM
||Friday, Jul. 21, 2006 at 10:25 AM
||Friday, Jul. 21, 2006 at 10:53 AM
||Friday, Jul. 21, 2006 at 10:54 AM
|kidnappings every week
||Friday, Jul. 21, 2006 at 10:54 AM
|London picks that which suits him
||Friday, Jul. 21, 2006 at 11:06 AM
||Friday, Jul. 21, 2006 at 11:13 AM
|Feeble doesn't decribe it
||Friday, Jul. 21, 2006 at 11:18 AM
||Friday, Jul. 21, 2006 at 11:25 AM
||Trust the IDF
||Friday, Jul. 21, 2006 at 11:39 AM
||Saturday, Jul. 22, 2006 at 5:53 AM
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