a different side of Israel

Tag: Nasrallah (page 1 of 3)

Hezbollah Round Three

Hezbollah Katyusha LauncherLooks like Round Three with Hezbollah is just around the corner. Intelligence has it that 40,000 rockets are now stockpiled near the Lebanese/Israeli border, with Hezbollah training its men to use missiles that will reach Tel Aviv. Added to the mix are ground-to-ground and anti aircraft missiles, which could be a bit of a game changer if the IAF is actually in danger from them. I shudder to think what will happen the day Hezbollah succeeds in downing an IAF aircraft.

The consensus is that Hezbollah is indeed stronger that it was before Round Two in 2006, which was cut short by UN Resolution 1701 designed to keep Hezbollah from rearming and preventing a Round Three from happening. Ever so surprisingly, it didn’t work, and UNIFIL inspectors didn’t seem to be able or willing to do much of anything to stop Hassan Nasrallah from rearming his gang.

Hassan Nasrallah Cartoon 4

As for his bragging to the media, Nasrallah threatened to attack Tel Aviv in Round Three should the IDF bomb the southern suburbs of Beirut, as it did in Round Two. However, if we consider the fact that Nasrallah still hasn’t been able to do anything in response to the brutal explosive slaying of his own number two, Imad Mughniyeh in February of last year (probably executed by Mossad agents, though this is unconfirmed), we can come to one of two possible conclusions. One, that he’s impotent, scared, and unable to do anything serious, which is why he has such a big mouth. Two, he’s really angry and coordinating his strategy with Iran, waiting for an Israeli attack and then letting loose with his 40,000 rockets and having a free for all.

I’d bet on option 2.

Meanwhile, last month one of Hezbollah’s storehouses blew up in southern Lebanon, which happens when you’re an army of mostly untrained thugs who don’t know how to safely store explosives and pack them in a room, only to have some idiot come in there and light a cigarette or something, and BOOM.

The explosion revealed that Hezbollah was still stockpiling rockets south of the Litani River, violating Resolution 1701. Here’s the thing about 1701. Did anyone think it would actually work? Why would Hezbollah commit to not rearming itself? What’s the point of a war if you’re not going to finish the job and make the other side surrender unconditionally? What you get if you do that is another Round.

And Round Three ain’t gonna be pretty. And if Israel doesn’t finish the job this times and we see another UN Resolution about how Hezbollah isn’t allowed to rearm wink wink, we will definitely be seeing a Round Four.

Round Three probably cannot be prevented now. But Round Four still can, and probably not by trying the same thing as last time. Let’s see what happens.

Lieberman says to arrest Sheikh Nasrallah

Avigdor Lieberman
The findings may only be symbolical, but the findings by a United Nations backed tribunal that the Hezbollah is mostly likely responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, and 23 others. The findings may be poetic justice, especially after Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah recently announced that he believes that Israeli intelligence agents were actually responsible for Hariri’s death, which occurred in 2005 when Hariri’s motorcade was passing through central Beirut.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman hopes to make the best of the situation by calling on the International Court of Justice to issue an arrest warrant against the Sheikh, even though his apprehension is very unlikely. Israel has been accused of committing this terror act, along with the more recent assassination of Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyah, whose SUV jeep was blown up in a Damascus suburb in August, 2008.

The U.N. tribunal findings, published first in the German newspaper Der Speigel, had quoted “un-named sources” as saying that their investigation has linked Nasrallah and his organization to the crime by using special technology to sort out information from lists of cell phone numbers being used at the time of the Beirut attack. Arab newspapers, including the Kuwait newspaper Al Anbaa, quoted Hezbollah sources as saying the finds are “a fabrication to exert influence on the upcoming national elections in Lebanon” in which Hezbollah is expected to win even more seats in parliament, and then be able to exert its influence in Lebanese national affairs even more.

Lieberman went on to say that the report of the tribunal’s findings should “send a warning signal to the international community”. What kind of “warning signal” Lieberman expects to send, will depend naturally on who is interested in dealing with an organization said to be a direct political and military proxy of Iran, and whose military fighters are said to be virtually under the guidance and control of Teheran.
Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanese affairs has reached the point where the organization has almost unlimited power there, and is able to do pretty much as they please. The Lebanese government is too weak to crush them, especially the Lebanese army, in which many of its officers and men are actually members of Hezbollah. It’s no wonder why Der Speigel notes that the report was not revealed to the Lebanese public, as it wouldn’t make much difference anyway, as life goes on there as usual.

Zvi Sela & The Good Sheikh Yassin

Sheikh Ahmed YassinIf any of you read an article in Friday’s Haaretz about an interview with former police psychologist Zvi Sela, now turned writer, you may have been as surprised as we were to read Sela’s remarks about deceased Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, whom Sela met with many times during Yassin’s imprisonment in Hadarim Prison, south of Raanana. Sela, who worked for many years as a senior police officer and has a PHD in educational psychology, told Haaretz reporter, Kobi Ben-Shalom, that Yassin, though cruel and ruthless, and responsible for most of the suicide bombings that were killing scores of Israelis during the mid 1990’s, was willing to have his Hamas organization recognize Israel as long as the Palestinians were given a state of their own. Sela said during the interview that “if we (Israel) had tried for an agreement with Yassin, we would have succeeded”. He also said that Yasser Arafat, with whom Israel was trying to negotiate, was in reality very corrupt, and that Hamas could not deal with him at all.

In regards to a final settlement, Yassin was quoted as saying: “I have no interest in destroying you – all I want is a state”.

Sela confessed his unhappiness that Israeli governments refuse to talk to Hamas leaders, saying that this is due to “the ego of our leaders”. During his two years of conversations with Yassin, Sela also had meetings with other imprisoned terrorists, including Samir Kuntar; who said he had not been responsible for the murders of Danny Haran and his daughter in Nahariya in the late 1970’s. Sela seems to paint a different picture of these people, whom many say return to terrorism immediately upon their release back to Gaza or Lebanon. In fact, Sela believes that long time terrorist internees, like Kuntar for instance, do not return to terrorism after being set free.

Return to active terrorism or not, these people certainly do not keep quiet about their feelings towards their former captors, as was seen from Yassin, before his assassination in 2004; and has been seen from Kuntar, who is being used as a symbol of resistance by another Sheikh, Hassan Nasrallah of the Hezbollah.

So are there some “good” terrorists and extremists, as far as Israel’s security is concerned? We’ll let everyone draw their own conclusions on this subject.

What happened in Italy last night

What happened in Italy last night

We didn’t expect what you see in this picture. This is the square of the Italian Parliament in Rome, Piazza Montecitorio: You can see the Palace on top of the square, and in front a lot of Israeli flags. That was last night from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. What you cannot see here, is the extraordinary number of members of Parliament, about 100 from all political sides, that took the stage during this time: for about three hours we were speaking about the role of Israel, its right to self defense, its moral height, its fight on behalf of us all, of our civilization and values, against the wild hate of the Islamic jihad represented by Hamas.

It seems to me that for the first time in the too long history of the Arab/Israeli conflict, apart from a minority of crazy leftists and fascists that took the street with anti-Semitic slogans, we have achieved a huge consensus on one critical point: this is not a local conflict, there is nothing in it that reminds us of a peace theme that has characterized the Palestinian issue. This is an attack against the western world, and Iran is behind it.

The change of attitude is great: the terrorist and religious nature of Hamas and the democratic, civilized nature of Israel are seen face to face for what they really are at least by the European elite at large, dead and wounded notwithstanding, and there rises an identification with Israel against a regime that uses human shields and promises slaughter of Jews in its charter.

What happens today, at least in Italy, is the defeat and fall of the leftist ideologies: ideology that has allowed justification of all the most violent crimes and most disgusting verbal attacks. If Arafat launched the terrorist Intifada, if he promoted the martyrdom of children in public speeches, the ideologists were ready to justify him with the issues of occupation, the Palestinian misery and loss of any hope. Not so with Hamas.

History, in Italy, has brought to a profound crisis the ideology of revolution and the justification of any cruel attack against a so-called unjust imperialist order. That time is over, nobody will see Hamas as the resolution of the problem and not even as the problem itself. I think that the word “peace” has lost that healing meaning that it once had. The new non-ideological point of view sees that there is no peace when one of the contenders doesn’t want it, and that even if the world in the short run asks for a truce, in the long run it hopes for the defeat of Hamas.

Last night, many people, Ministers and Members of Parliament, composed a very new, interesting mix of opinions. I think that when you are not overwhelmed by exotic thirdworldism, the images of children educated as hate machines, the speeches of jihad leaders, from Ahmadinejad to Nasrallah, to Haniyeh, that deny the holocaust and promise death to Jewish and Christians alike, you are left only with disgust. Westerners, thank God, can still be disgusted by uncivilized levels of political speech.

But most of all, in the Parliament square, many of the Parliament Members said: “I love Israel”.

You can’t imagine how many.

Fiamma Nirenstein

Fiamma Nirenstein, a journalist and some-time resident of Jerusalem, is a new Member of the Italian Parliament who is outspoken on Israel’s behalf. She writes below that there is increasing understanding of what Israel is facing in its current war against Hamas.

Nasrallah’s Tip Off & The Bitter Taste of Betrayal

So this morning we got a little love from our cousins in the North.. A Palestinian Group was able to get up close and personal and shoot a few older model rockets over the border.


Although no one is actually taking responsibility for the shooting of these 4 rockets into Nahariya and the Western Galilee there are the usual suspects. There was no real surprise here and there was an expectation both in the army and civilian authorities that an attack will be coming especially after the speech by Nasrallah.

The Army Command-Directorate of Orientation issued a statement on Thursday saying that “an unknown party launched a number of rockets toward the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and Israel retaliated and launched artillery shells on the southern region of Naqoura.”

The Army statement added that no casualties resulted from the Israeli bombing, stressing Army units were cooperating with the UNIFIL and took adequate measures to protect the residents and control the situation. (Al Manar TV)

But we all know who runs the show in Lebanon and if you were listening carefully last night to the nightly rant of the bearded, semi hysterical Hezbollah leader I swear you could hear a hidden tip off…

On Wednesday, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, warned that “all possibilities” were open against Israel as he gave a speech condemning Israel’s offensive in Gaza and voicing support for Hamas….

The comments marked the first time he has spoken so openly on the possibility of a renewed conflict with Israel since the war in Gaza began on December 27.

Nasrallah warned that the 2006 conflict would be “but a walk in the park” compared to what awaits Israel if it launches a new offensive on Lebanon.

“We have to act as though all possibilities are real and open [against Israel] and we must always be ready for any eventuality.

“We are ready to sacrifice our souls, our brothers and sisters, our children, our loved ones for what we believe in.” (Al Jazeera)

So, if one was to listen to the message and put that together with the attack this morning, one could make the claim that we were duly warned. But why would he do that? Hezbollah is not looking for another fight (at least not right now) and yet they had to let the “rogue faction” blow off some steam. Now I know they’re not Jewish but that sounds like … guilt. They feel a little guilty.

I guess sending an entire nation to a state of chaos and death can cause a little guilt even in Nasrallah.

Let’s face it, the Iranians and Nasrallah pushed and egged on Hamas, they made them believe that when the time came they would be there and instead hung them out to dry. The way its being described here is that Nasrallah would fight Israel until the last drop of Gazan blood.

That’s what I call the bitter taste of betrayal. I hope that when this war is over the Palestinian people keep in mind what their “friends” were doing to help them… With friends like that who needs enemies..

Honda Takes a Brave Stance

Lebanon: Who’s in Charge There?

A lebanese shiite gunmanRecent fighting in Beirut and other parts of Lebanon has made many wonder who is really in charge there. The fighting began several days ago following a clamp down by the Sunni Muslim dominated government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora – himself a Sunni Muslim – on a media network run by none other than Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah’s Hezbollah organization. PM Siniora must have pushed the Shiite Sheikh and his organization a bit too far, as Nasrallah went on the air declaring in a fiery speech that Siniora and his “so-called” government’s actions were nothing less than an act of war against the Hezbollah.

Nasrallah’s tirade was almost immediately followed by Shiite gunmen setting up positions in various sections of the Capital, which forced Siniora to order the Lebanese army to send out troops with tanks and armored personnel carriers, as to try and show Nasrallah and his followers that the government meant business. All that can be said about these events is that the fighting which took place over the past few days in both Beirut and Tripoli indicates the Hezbollah appears to have the upper hand in this new conflict that many fear could turn into another civil war, like the one that almost destroyed the country back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The situation went from bad to worse with large areas of Beirut again becoming a war zone, and people being afraid to leave their homes, or even to purchase basic necessities.
Although the situation has begun to improve a bit since the fighting broke out (which coincidentally was about the same time that Israel was celebrating it’s 60th Independence Day), the relative calm only occurs because Nasrallah and the Hezbollah backed off a bit, for their own personal reasons. Most likely, the Hezbollah isn’t inclined to assume control of the entire country, and so its people are content to consolidate their hold on areas like West Beirut, along with their known strongholds in southern Lebanon.

Obviously, the Israeli government and military are keeping a wary eye on the developments in the north, as was noted by Defense Minister Ehud Barak during a visit to a kibbutz in southern Israel after a Hamas attack that took place there. Barak said that the IDF is “keeping one eye open in the south and another eye open in the north in regards to what is happening in Lebanon”.

That may be indeed a good idea, as Israel’s worst nightmare would be a Hezbollah-governed Lebanon on its northern border. The 2006 war is still on many people’s mind in Israel, especially those living in the north. The actions of Nasrallah’s organization during the past few days clearly indicate that Fouad Siniora and his government are not in charge of their country’s affairs — in fact, far from it. So, who’s really in charge in the “country of the cedars”? You, the reader, can draw your own conclusions.

Nasrallah’s New Game Plan

With the official 40 day mourning period for assassinated Hezbollah terror leader Imad Mughniyeh now over, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah hasn’t wasted any time renewing his rhetoric concerning his organizations plans to take revenge on Israel, whom he say’s are responsible for Mughniyeh’s death. In addition to the regular manner of reprisals, such as additional cross border attacks and kidnappings, possible renewed Ketiusha rocket launchings and the like, the Sheikh now has an additional new “game plan” up his black sleeves. And that plan is to literally saturate Israel with hard line narcotics such as heroin.

Nasrallah’s plan is really nothing new as opium and heroin have been smuggled into Israel for years – even with the “assistance” of the once Southern Lebanese Army which was closely allied with Israel. Raw Lebanese opium originates in the Beka Valley, especially near the town of Baal Beck. From there, it is sent to various “processing centers” where the raw opium is made into heroin and then sent to Kfar Roger on the border with Israel. After being smuggled across the border, it finds its way to Israel’ center, especially Tel Aviv and Lod, where the drug is sold to addicts through holes in the wall, called “Kaspomats”, which is the same term used by ATM machines. Other major cities, including Jerusalem, where large numbers of “users” live, also are eventual recipients of Lebanese narcotics.

The Sheikh plans to literally flood Israel with the hard stuff hoping to demoralize people and increase the number of addicts due to the availability of cheaper heroin. What he fails to realize is all he will be doing is helping to line the pockets of Israeli drug dealers, both Jewish and Arab, who will be happy to handle this new influx of dope, no matter what it’s origin.

To give one an idea of how much money can be made on the stuff, a kilogram of processed heroin brings $20,000 in Lebanon. In Israel, the price skyrockets to $100,000 after final processing in Israel. Illegal narcotics laboratories in Israel dilute the dope so a kilo of Lebanese “H” winds up as 4 to 10 kilos of diluted drugs when finally sold on the “street”. This also doesn’t take into account the risks that the addicts take by using heroin with talcum powder and other “additives” mixed in.

Israeli police officials are already used to having to deal with this kind of problem, which began in earnest following the 1982 Lebanese war. At that time, the border with Lebanon was so “porous” that literally everything, including AK-47 assault rifles and other weapons was brought in by Israeli soldiers and others who were in Lebanon following Israel’s invasion of that country. In the 18 year occupation of the southern “security zone” narcotics, including large quantities of hashish, was also smuggled across into Israel.

Police officials take Nasrallah’s new threat very seriously; and will have to be more vigilant as to these new quantities of “imported” merchandise, courtesy of the Hezbollah.

Et tu, Cheney?

Cheney in RamallahNo sooner had the fine china been put away for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Presidential candidate John McCain at Jerusalem hotels like the Kind David at Jerusalem hotels like the King David, when U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney came to town. Cheney, also back from a quick trip to beleaguered Iraq (where U.S. forces have just suffered their 4,000th war casualty) stopped off in Israel to visit both with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Not exactly “Mr. Personality”, Cheney reiterated previous remarks by both McCain and Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice (who was also here recently) in respect to American support of a two state solution and a full partnership with Israel. Cheney also pulled no punches when he mentioned that Iran was not only a danger to Israel but to America and the non-Islamic world at large. This also was not anything new as both Senator McCain and Sec. Rice had made similar remarks.

In respect to relations between Israel and the Palestinians, Cheney said that in order for peace to be achieved, “some painful concessions need to be made”. Now, here is the kicker question in this remark: painful for whom? Israel, the Palestinians (the West Bank Palestinians, that is ) or for those nasty people called Hamas who nobody wants to deal with, except people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah, that is. And we might as well throw in people like Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s No. 2, and even more nasty than Osama bin Laden, so they say. Cheney’s visit with Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas was also a bit lackluster, but what could one expect, since any rational person knows who the most powerful Palestinian leader really is.

Cheney has been behind much of America’s five plus year Iraq experience that is being “commemorated” today with the announcement of the 4000th slain U.S. combat soldier. Not as bad as Vietnam, which had at least 40,000 dead GI’s after the same 5 year period. But these new war dead are bad enough for a much scaled down professional military that requires it’s thinly spread-out troop contingents to spend at lest two duty tours in either Iraq or Afghanistan – take their choice.

As for Cheney’s short trip here, it will most likely be his last to the region, although his boss, President George W. Bush plans to be back in Israel to help celebrate the upcoming 60th Independence celebration. Busch better not plan to be here at the same time that former Beatles greats Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr plan to be here too, as they will surely upstage him.

Oh what the heck. The fact that he’s still alive with half a heart left feebly beating is a triumph in itself! Dick Cheney doesn’t need to worry about such things as upstaging the Beatles, since he won’t be attending the party.

“Beaufort’s” Loss is Israel’s Gain?

Beaufort 2008 OscarFinally, the voting of the Hollywood Film Arts Academy is in and the Israeli movie Beaufort didn’t win the Oscar. Losing out to another foreign language film entitled The Counter Fitters, many members of the Israeli film arts industry are perhaps a bit disappointed that this movie, based on the experiences of an IDF combat unit in a bunker atop the ancient Lebanese Crusader fortress of Beaufort, didn’t result in Producer David Silver and Director Joseph Cedar mounting the stage for the first time to give their acceptance speech for the coveted award.

Or, was perhaps losing the Oscar really a blessing in disguise?

The film was produced in 2007 following the book written by Ron Leshem, as is based on true experiences of members of some of Israeli’s top Golani Brigade solders who were literally holed up in a number of bunkers along the ten kilometer “security zone” that Israel held onto for nearly 20 years following the 1982 Peace for Galilee operation, otherwise known as the 1st Lebanese War. Their experiences, followed by the decision by then Prime Minister Ehud Barak to pull all Israeli troops out of Lebanon is a move still being criticized by many in Israel to this day, and rejoiced by many others; especially the families of the soldiers who lost many of their comrades during the final months until the pull back in May, 1999.

Since the film’s script does not portray Israel combat soldiers as the strong, courageous soldiers that used to be appropriate metaphors for the Israeli Defense Forces, winning an Academy Award for a portrayal of a top military combat unit cast in an entirely different light, might have only put “salt on the wound” of a still festering sore. This insight is also very plausible in the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanese II war in which Israeli combat units, particularly reserve units were sent into southern Lebanon in the final 48 hours of the war without adequate training and equipment, including basic combat rations and even fresh water.

In a way, in many Israeli peoples’ minds, the fact that this film didn’t win may be better in the long run as present top IDF officers, including the new Chief of Staff, are trying to upgrade and improve the IDF’s image; not only to Israel’s enemies, but to Israeli citizens themselves. Any acclaim over winning an Oscar, despite what it could have done to bolster the local film industry, might wind up doing more harm than good to the country’s national image; an image that Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, repeatedly castigates as being severely weakened in the aftermath of both the 1999 re-engagement and Lebanon II.

This year’s Academy Awards presentation ended with a number of lesser known actors winning the top awards, including best actor and actress. There was some respite for Jews living in Israel and elsewhere when the Cohen brothers won the awards for Best Director and Best Picture. That’s nothing new, as Jews has been very dominant in the Hollywood film industry almost since it’s beginning in the 1920’s.

As for disappointed Israeli actors and film moguls, there’s always next year; and perhaps they can come up with some film subject matter that is a bit less controversial.

After Imad Mughniyeh

A lot of “whodunit” speculation is going around as to who really was responsible for the assassination of senior Hezbollah member and arch terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, who was taken out last Tuesday evening by a bomb planted in his Pajero SUV in central Damascus. Mughniyeh’s followers, in the Hezbollah immediately pointed their fingers at Israel, with Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah declaring that his organization is declaring “open warfare” against Israelis and Jews everywhere in world. Naturally, this threat has set alarm bells ringing in both the Israeli government and military, with strict warnings being issued to overseas Israeli diplomatic missions, as well as to Israelis planning either business or pleasure trips abroad; especially to Muslim and Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan.

Responsibility for Mughniyeh’s death has been denied by Israel, and so far American government spokespersons have also denied involvement. This could mean, therefore, that perhaps the man who has been referred to as the world’s most feared terrorist since Carlos the Jackal, may have been taken out by those a lot closer to home. Consider the following, especially after the double spectacles Thursday of the terrorist being laid to rest in south Beirut, and the commemoration of the third anniversary of the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Why these two events need to be analyzed for their relevance to each other is that:

1. Both events occurred on the same day.
2. Only an estimated 10,000 people, most of them militia members, showed up for Mughniyeh’s funeral.
3. Close to 100,000 were present at the rally for Hariri. This large number represented Lebanese from all parts of the religious and political spectrum, many of whom had been active in the demonstrations following Hariri’s death that resulted in Syria pulling its troops out of Lebanon, ending a 25 year presence.

Ten thousand against 100,000; that’s a big difference and seems to indicate that except in Hezbollah’s strongholds in south Beirut and southern Lebanon, a great number of Lebanese are interested in a better future for their country. This future seems to be desired without the likes of groups such as Hezbollah; whom many in Lebanon consider to be a nothing more than proxies of Iran.

For this reason, it is evident that Mr. Mughniyeh had many enemies within Lebanon as well as outside of the country. It was revealed that he had only recently arrived in Damascus, after entering Syria on a fake passport. He may have been on the run from Lebanon following a series of bombings that he could have been responsible for.

Taking this and other possibilities into account, Imad Mughniyeh’s assassination may very well have been the result of his deeds simply catching up with him; not only from countries where many of these acts were carried out, but from members of his own countrymen as well. Perhaps even some of his fellow Hezbollah party members, including Sheikh Nasrallah himself, decided that it was simply time for Mughniyeh to go. Whatever the reason; good riddance.

Bye Imad

Imad Mughniyah, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, and perhaps second or third on America’s and Israel’s “rogue gallery” finally was caught off guard in Damascus on Tuesday night. The Hezbollah terror mastermind, who is alleged as responsible for a great deal of the terror attacks in Lebanon and elsewhere since the early 1980’s was blown up by a car bomb in the Syrian capital where he has been residing for a number of years.

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Ladin still has the “distinction” of being No. 1 on America’s Most Wanted criminal list.

Beginning with the car bombings of American and Israeli bases in Lebanon, and including the kidnappings and murders of high ranking American military and diplomatic officials, including CIA Beirut head William Buckley, Mughniyah was also responsible for several international attacks including the on the Israeli Embassy and cultural center in Buenos Aires in the 1990’s. As one of America’s top wanted, he carried a price on his head of $25 million, the same amount as Al Qaeda head Osama bin Ladin. He was also responsible for the hijacking of a TWA airliner which resulted in one American being killed and the rest of the passengers held captive in Libya for 17 days.

His death is said to have caused by a bomb planted inside the headrest on the front seat of his Mitsubishi Pajero jeep. It was definitely a professional job, which is why the Hezbollah have immediately blamed “the Zionests” for carrying out the hit. But
Imad had many enemies who wanted him dead, including the CIA and even groups within Lebanon, such as the Philange Christian militia whose leader, Bashir Jamil was alleged to have been assassinated by either the Amal militia or the group that became known as Hezbollah. Mughniyah may also have been involved in the assassination for billionaire and former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

Israeli diplomatic missions worldwide are on a state of high alert following the attack, especially in light of Mughniyah’s funeral being today, which will probably be the center of another mass anti Israel demonstration, including a few choice words by Hezbollah’s General Secretary, Sheikh Hassan Sayed Nasrallah. What makes today’s event even more provocative is that it coincides on the third anniversary of Rafik Hariri’s assassination, meaning that there is bound to be conflict between the two groups. Mughniyah’s funeral is to be held in South Beirut, Hezbollah’s stronghold.

If it turns out that the assassination of Mughniyah was not a CIA or Israeli act, it will be interesting to see who turns up to claim the $25 million bounty that was still on his head as the time of his death. Who knows? Perhaps this act was either carried out by the Syrians (who are a bit strapped for cash these days) or even by Hezbollah people themselves who would put the reward money into Hezbollah’s general fund to assist the “poor people of Lebanon”. That would be a real slap in the face for U.S. President Bush and his Administration.

“Brer Rabbit” Nasrallah Pops Out

Just like the Uncle Remus character Brer Rabbit, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah also popped briefly out of his ‘rabbit hole’ yesterday to attend a special rally to commemorate the annual Shiite Muslim Ashoura holiday on Saturday. Surrounded by more security guards than even George Bush, the Sheikh made his way to a special podium where he addressed an enthusiastic crowd of thousands of his followers, complete with more than a few harsh words to the Israel government.

In fact, his words did get to Israeli officials in Jerusalem, especially involving the Sheikh’s willingness to trade what he claims are body parts of Israel soldiers for Hezbollah dead and captured militants still in Israeli hands. And judging from the amount of bodyguards surrounding him, including a crowd of at least 200,000, Nasrallah is very much aware that he definitely has a “price on his head”.

But again like that mischievous fictional character in American writer Joel Chandler Harris’s children’s books, ole “Brer Nasrallah” has a few tricks up his sleeves as well. He has to have, as he was a definite target in July, 2006 when Israeli warplanes dumped several tons of smart bombs on where he was thought to be hiding in south Beirut. He obviously wasn’t home at the time, and his whereabouts were a matter of mass speculation which give his proposed location as being in a number of places, including Damascus.

Nasrallah has tried to make deals before, most of which were more bluff than huff. The last major exchange was in 2003 when three dead Israeli soldiers and one live civilian, Elkana Tenenbaum were returned to Israel in exchange for over a 1,000 Hezbollah and Lebanese men.

Nasrallah may be deciding though that enough is enough regarding his continuing to live underground. And agreeing to another large scale deal with Israel, including possibly the two captured IDF reserve soldiers Eldad Regev and Udi Goldwasser, it might be enough in his favor to allow the Sheikh to come out of the “brier patch”. It must be a real drag living underground for so long, and seeing the sunshine and so many of his adoring fans much have been a real adrenalin rush for Hassan. Whatever deal is finally worked out won’t vindicate the Sheikh’s actions in the eyes of Israelis however, as virtually everyone south of the (Lebanese) border would like to see his “head on a pike”. And it wouldn’t be surprising if a lot of non-Hezbollah Lebanese wouldn’t mind seeing him out of the way as well.

But getting to him is probably more elusive than Brer Fox getting to Brer Rabbit. And like Uncle Remus said about Brer Fox’s chances to have rabbit stew , so are the chances to flush the Shiekh out of wherever he is hold up.

Nasrallah “Let’s Negotiate Israeli Remains”

AssholeThe New Year has barely begun and Hezbollah General Secretary Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is at it again. This time, he was interviewed on Lebanon’s Al Manar T.V. and made an “offer” to negotiate what he claims are the remains of several Israeli soldiers killed in the July/August 2006 Lebanon war. This offer seems a bit bizarre as the only Israeli soldiers who were declared as missing by the IDF were the crew of the naval patrol ship that was sunk by a Hezbollah launched ground to sea missile, plus the two captured soldiers Udi Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whose capture actually caused the war to begin in the first place. During his address, Nasrallah made no mention of the two solders, which were captured on July 12, 2006 when their patrol was ambushed by Hezbollah militiamen. The body of one Israeli seaman was returned recently in exchange for several Hezbollah fighters.

The Sheikh also said that his people are preparing for another conflict as he sees no signs of any willingness of the Israeli government to change its position regarding either its relations with Lebanon as well as the rights of Palestinians to return to their homeland. He also said during the interview that his organization has “much more influence over Iran than Iran has over Hezbollah”, and that Israel was responsible for the recent assassination of Lebanese military and political personalities.

Israel wasn’t the only party that came under the Sheikh’s castigation as he said the U.S. government is trying to put it’s influence on the Lebanese government to make a peace deal with Israel and then get rid of the Hezbollah. Nasrallah said that his organization can defend itself against any foreign aggression, whether it comes from Israel or America. Nasrallah spent considerable time talking about his organization’s present status in the Lebanese political realm and that it’s support of certain politicians and military commanders such as Lebanese Army Commander Michel Sulieman is a very deciding factor in General Sulieman’s bid to become the country’s next president.

Regarding a future war with Israel, the Sheikh said that this was possible but would not be for possibly “several months”. Following the publishing of the reports of the investigations in Israel regarding who was responsible for the conduct of the 2006 war, Nasrallah appears to be much more confident his organization’s ability to inflict major damage on Israel should another war take place. And his optimism is good founded as Israel’s entire northern region, including its third largest city was affected by the more than 6,000 Katyusha rockets that were launched against Israeli targets. Recent intelligence reports have said that Hezbollah has not only rearmed itself to the strength it was before the war began but has even acquired missiles that are capable of reaching targets such as Tel Aviv.

The Sheikh ended the interview by saying that members of his party’s political structure would meet to see what they could do to “deal” with the present Lebanese government. Could this mean a Hezbollah sponsored coup is in the offing? Stay tuned folks….

Hamas Never Recognize Israel

Palestinian Prime Minister and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh declared on Sunday that “whoever declares that he will never recognize Israel earns the Palestinians’ love”. Speaking before an estimated Gaza City crowd of more than 200,000 who had gathered there to commemorate the 20th anniversary since the founding of the organization known as Hamas, Haniyeh noted a number of “achievements” that his organization was either fully or partially responsible for including the 2005 Israeli pull out from Gaza, the Hamas takeover of the Gaza strip from rivals Fatah, the 2006 war, and the continued captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. He also said that Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “is weak and unable to negotiate Shalit’s release”.

Though Haniyeh said that his organization is willing to negotiate a peace agreement with Fatah, they will never do so with Israel. “Hamas has already begun to dig graves for the Jews” a Hamas parliament member Nushir al-Masri said during the same rally.
“The Israeli soldier Schalit will never see the light of day as long as Palestinians remain in Israeli jails”, Osama al-Muzaini, the Hamas official responsible for the soldier’s well being was quoted as saying.

And from exile in Damascus, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal congratulated Haniyeh and added that “our people are able to launch a third and even fourth Intifada until the day of victory arrives”.

Regarding any possible Israeli military invasion into Gaza, Haniyeh said that a lot of unpleasant “surprises” awaited any planned IDF operation into “the Palestinian Motherland” and that Israel forces would pay dearly.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian man who lives in the area where the June 2006 cross border raid that resulted in IDF corporal Gilad Schalit being captured and two IDF soldiers killed took place revealed that he had seen Schalit on the day of his capture. He said that after hearing gunshots and explosions he saw several Palestinian militants leading an IDF soldier who appeared wounded and had blood stains and burns on his face, upper body and arms.

All of this appears to be a marked contrast to the recent summit in Annapolis Maryland in which both Israeli P.M. Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Machmoud Abbas agreed to work together towards the creation of a Palestinian State by the end of 2008. The belligerency of Hamas also seems contrary to a pledge to give the Palestinians a sum of over $5.6 billion to assist towards the development of a Palestinian infrastructure. The pledge, given at a special donor’s conference which took place in Paris over the weekend was attended by Abbas as well as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Only one thing was missing and that was representatives of the more than 1.2 million Palestinians living in Gaza and ruled over by Mr. Haniyeh and his exiled colleague Khaled Meshaal.. And judging from the noise being made by the over 200,000 Hamas supporters who had gathered Sunday to cheer their leaders, trying to avoid Hamas is like trying to avoid Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon – with the same explosive implications.

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