Monday, March 07, 2005

Hizbollah Supports Syria

Hezbollah declares full support for Syria (Again I thank Paul of War in Context for article summaries)
By Hassan M. Fattah, New York Times, March 7, 2005

The Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah declared its full support for Syria today, presenting a direct challenge to opposition groups after Syria promised to gradually withdraw troops from Lebanon.

Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, spoke to reporters today in his stronghold in southern Beirut, breaking weeks of relative silence over the crisis concerning Syria's presence in Lebanon. He called for Lebanese to "express their gratitude" to Syria by joining a demonstration on Tuesday against United Nations Resolution 1559, which calls for Syria's withdrawal and Hezbollah's disarmament.

"I invite all Lebanese to this meeting to refuse foreign interference," he said.

Although he acknowledged that a Syrian pullout was a reality, he stressed that Syria must be able to leave with honor - a reaction to repeated statements by the Bush administration and Lebanese opposition groups calling for a quick and complete pullout of Syrian forces.


Stark choice for militant Hizbullah
By Nicholas Blanford, Christian Science Monitor, March 7, 2005

Syria's stated intention to begin disengaging its military forces from this Mediterranean country poses the most serious challenge to the militant Shiite Hizbullah organization since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.

A Syrian withdrawal threatens to deprive Hizbullah of its Damascus-sanctioned political cover to pursue an aggressive anti-Israel agenda. "What is at stake is Hizbullah's future as a militia, as an armed force, and also as a pan-Islamic movement," says Samir Kassir, columnist for Lebanon's leading An Nahar newspaper.

The choices facing the powerful organization are stark. If it chooses to adapt to the new realities in Lebanon, it is likely to face the isolation and eventual dismantling of its military wing, the Islamic Resistance, which drove Israeli occupation forces from south Lebanon in May 2000 and is now deployed along Israel's northern border. The Islamic Resistance has about 300-400 full-time guerrilla fighters and several thousand reservists.


At 3/07/2005 08:59:00 AM, Anonymous Ibrahim said...

It is funny how again and again, Mr. Nasrallah can be such a hypocrite when dealing with politics.

He pledges full support to a Syrian army already in retreat and declares shamelessly that he will not lay down his weapons with the argument of maintaining Lebanon's resistance movement against Israel.

I have this simple and straightforward question to Mr. Nasrallah:

What will Hizbullah do after Syria signs its peace agreement with Israel?

Let him answer that and all of his plotted game will fall in shambles.

At 3/07/2005 06:24:00 PM, Blogger johnplikethepope said...

I read Assad's admission that "mistakes were made" to mean "heads will roll." Will it be real change or window dressing?

There may be a feeble attempt to prop up pro-Syrian politicians in Lebanon, but the masses will have nothing of it. The Hezbollah rally scheduled for tomorrow is likely to be dwarfed by opposition supporters. If Damascus thinks it can sell window dressing that falls far short of allowing the emergence of an independent Lebanon it is sorely mistaken.
This regime can do nothing right in Lebanon.

At 3/07/2005 08:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What will Hizbullah do after Syria signs its peace agreement with Israel?Ibrahim -

Assad and his Baathist advisors will make sure that no peace with Israel is signed. Like the other billionaire despot, Arafat, we learned that the external enenmy keeps us in power. The Syrian Pharoah will now go full speed ahead on funding, aiding, and supporting Hezbollah. The name of the game is chaos, turmoil, violence, and brinkmanship even if this brings a harsh response from the neo-cons. Otherwise the Baathist will self-destruct without an external enemy...

At 3/08/2005 10:31:00 AM, Anonymous Ibrahim said...

With all due respect, I can say the same about Israel.

Israel cannot survive without a boogeyman or an external/internal enemy, however you want to call it.

At 3/08/2005 04:42:00 PM, Blogger johnplikethepope said...

In the past I have raised the specter of hawks in Washington descending on Syria and/or Lebanon with all its military might. It occurs to me that another scenario may be unfolding. The U.S. and Syria may be operating under a modus vivendi whereby Damascus basically knuckles under and pulls out of Lebanon, and meanwhile the U.S. aids their image by complaining vehemently about the pace of the withdrawal. Syria saves face, democracy gains ground, and I imagine there are a few perks for the Syrian president thrown in on the side.
It may be similar to when a contract is struck between a union and management and the management wails about how they were taken to the cleaners as a means of making the rank and file union members feel like they won.
The reaction to the Hezbollah rally was rather accomodating out of Washington, I thought. Perhaps the experience in Iraq is proving to Washington that Shiites are "ready for Democracy."

At 3/08/2005 05:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the Middle East in politics, talks circle around crossing or not crossing red lines (red lines, not to be crossed for stability and in agreement with major world powers). The umbrella that syria furnished over lebanon, supposedly keeping peace and protecting minorities, not useful any more. This umberella took tens of thousands to the Mezza prisons never to come back again, especially western allies or those promote freedom (majorily Christians). The red lines are taken away by the muscle of American power. Russia, Europe, many Arab countries made direct statemetns to syria to withdraw immediately. The time has come for Syria to change. The Assaad family played hypocrites and kept Lebanon for various reasons, Political, economic, wild card to play with the west using for example Huzbellah, and return of Gulan Hights. This time, Syria's regime will be hit strongly if it don't comply with the Western policy, all the way compliance is asked for by USA. Lebanon will not see any other war because this time it will be over for Christians that are not majority anymore because of the war, and will loose previllages gained such as presidency being only Christian (Catholic). USA knows the delicacy of the Lebanese story, and so the war pressure will ignore Huzbollah for the time being, because Syria is the head of the snake and the one targeted. Until Syria is subdued Hezbullah will keep making the headlines. And, It will like today, call for Syrian residents to cross the border for show off demonstrations, holding pictures of Bashaar Alassad in middle Bierut.

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