Friday, September 20, 2013

KNOW THINE HEZBOLLAH:

KNOW THINE HEZBOLLAH:
By Ghassan Kadi
September 15, 2013

Westerners in general, and Americans in particular, know very little about Hezbollah apart from the little they hear on Western media and very occasionally what is said by some Western politicians.

The objective of this article is to shed some light on Hezbollah to Westerners, and to provide them with information about Hezbollah that they would not hear on Western media.

The loudest recent Western political statement about Hezbollah perhaps was the EU’s declaration of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

A branding such as “terrorism” is a very strong one, and it constructs an even stronger psychological barrier that can invariably be insurmountable.

Unless one has special interests in a particular group or individuals, the average person will not launch his/her own investigative research seeking personal assessments of organizations such as Nazism, AlQaeda, or cult leaders such as Hitler, Bin Laden, Pol Pot or Milosevic. The lack of interest favours the convenience of using the terms and mindsets of the tabloids.

Having said that, history clearly shows that many such definitions have been revisited as the result of unfolding of relevant situations. To elaborate by referring to just one example, Ho Che Minh and his Vietcong were demonized by the USA and its allies. The two names were synonymous with the “Communist Peril” a definition that remains alive only in the minds of ultra-conservatives few. By-and-large, Che is now regarded globally as a great hero and the Vietcong are seen as freedom fighters.

In reality, there are great parallelisms between the Vietcong and Hezbollah and many similarities, despite the many differences.

The Vietcong were fighting an American aggression on Vietnamese soil, and they used the USSR and China to support them militarily and strategically.

In a very similar manner, Hezbollah is fighting an Israeli/American backed aggression in Lebanon, and it is using Syria and Iran to support it militarily and strategically.

Both of the Vietcong/American and the Hezbollah/Israeli wars are asymmetrical, in which stealthy organizations are fighting regular armies with heavy hardware. Both organizations have been branded as enemies of the United States.

The nature of the battles on the ground however are different. Vietnam is densely vegetated and the intense canopy gave the Vietcong cover, and the USA used Agent Orange to defoliate the jungle and make the “enemy” visible, but this didn’t win the Americans the war. The Vietnam War saw the use of heavy B52 bombers carpet bombing wide areas on the ground; something that hasn’t with Hezbollah, or at least not yet. At the end of the day however, the Vietcong won against all odds.

South Lebanon is a hilly area but not densely vegetated. Hezbollah had to learn the trick of building intricate network of adjoining heavily sheltered tunnels. What is more pertinent here is that in between the 1960’s (ie the time of the Vietnam War) and now, there has been huge advances in war technology, and stealth and determination alone are no longer enough to win wars.

What the average Westerner does not know, because his/her governments and Western media do not want him/her to know is that, in 1978, south of Lebanon went under Israeli control and occupation. The Lebanese population suffered from the same Israeli atrocities committed against Palestinians. The Lebanese could not breathe sighs of relief and sense freedom until they finally defeated Israel and forced it out, at the hands of Hezbollah.

This was hardly ever mentioned in Western media.

Just prior to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Israel established a Lebanese army (The Lebanese Free Army) from defectors of the regular army and who were pro-Israelis. They established for them strategic positions on hilltops and roadsides to work as proxies and protectors of Israel. At a time when there was absolutely no resistance from Lebanon towards Israel, none whatsoever, Israel was shelling southern Lebanese villages and towns on a regular and daily basis. Such news never reached the Western media. Despite the many complaints that the Lebanese government submitted to the UN, all it got back was condemnations but no forceful action to stop Israel from attacking.

Whilst it is true that the PLO established a base for itself in South Lebanon after it was kicked out of Jordan in 1970, and whilst it is true that the PLO has launched a few rockets attacks on Northern Israel between 1970 and 1982, the Israeli response was not only disproportionate to the extent of perhaps 1000 to 1, but it also targeted Lebanese villages and villagers who had nothing to do with the PLO and didn’t even offer them any protection.

When in 1982 Israel came in and invaded Lebanon to drive out the PLO once and for all, it was met with the cheers of many Southern Lebanese because they thought that this meant an end for any need of Israeli hostility. This is needless to say that rogue elements within the PLO were acting like a state within a state, intimidating the Lebanese population that coerced to host them and even imposing demands for protection money from businesses.

The honeymoon between Israel and the people of South Lebanon and the wishful thinking of a better future didn’t last long as Israel soon started to act like an aggressor of a new kind, bringing in daily 100’s of trucks of Israeli goods across the border to be sold in local markets before any local products could be sold and, by randomly rounding up and imprisoning tens of thousands of Lebanese youth without any charges for days, weeks, months, and in some cases up to 3 or 4 years. It became so obvious that Israelis didn’t even keep records of the people they imprisoned because some people were imprisoned twice or even three times without any charges. This is not to mention the long traffic queues, the permits needed to go from one area to another…..

Orchards were leveled, factories were looted, even water was diverted. The whole exercise was based on spreading fear of the conqueror and to bring humiliation and intimidation to the people of South Lebanon. But before too long, this terrorizing technique backfired and there was a very strong resentment for the Israelis festering in the Lebanese of the south.

The odds of doing anything effective against Israel were extremely low. Israel had the upper hand, troops with their hardware on the ground in their tens of thousands, their proxies (The Lebanese Free Army), air superiority, technology, US logistic support - you name it, and all the Lebanese resistance had was a few machine guns, grenades but they had a will of steel.

From what started off as the “Lebanese Resistance” in late 1982 became the backbone of Hezbollah. They quickly had to learn as mentioned earlier, that they needed to have a technological cutting edge, and they were very quick learners.

Before too long, and after a series of planned and videoed operations against the Israeli occupiers, which resulted in more than 500 Israeli casualties, in May 2000, without any prior announcement, overnight, Israel packed up its gear and retreated, leaving behind its Lebanese ally, the Lebanese Free Army, without any cover.

Israel referred to this retreat as a “tactical withdrawal”. In reality, it was the most humiliating defeat it had suffered since its inception in 1948. Israel had never before or after withdrawn from occupied Arab land without any negotiations and without getting some tradeoff. If anything, the tradeoff meant that Hezbollah now can launch its rockets from the border itself giving Hezbollah the greatest advantage. This was no tradeoff for Israel, this was not a “tactical withdrawal”, this was a ground-breaking and utterly humiliating defeat for Israel. This also was a source of inspiration for Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza and a reason for believing that the myth of the “undefeatable army” is no more.

Later on in July 2006, Israel miscalculated again and decided to take a gamble against Hezbollah who had just kidnapped two Israeli soldiers at the border site. Shortly after the event, Israel unleashed hell on the whole of Lebanon with the intention of crippling Hezbollah, its defense capability and teaching them a lesson.

The result was another crushing defeat for Israel. It was unable to advance its ground troops into Lebanon even after very heavy aerial bombardments. When ground forces were able to move in they did so to soon realize that they had fallen into traps. The Merkava Tanks, the pride and joy of the Israeli army and technology, the tank that was meant to repel any anti-armoured vehicle grenade, was crippled and hit on tens of occasions. The Israeli Navy lost a warship, and before too long, the IDF found itself bogged in a big quagmire and yet wasn’t able to stop the barrage of Hezbollah rockets on Israel and, if anything, the rockets were going deeper and deeper into Israel as the war progressed, reaching Dimona at one stage.

All the while, Israel was neither able to stop Al Manar TV from telecasting nor Al Manar radio from broadcasting, even though the headquarters had been bombed several times, but, they managed to stay on air by transmitting from secret locations that Israel was unable to locate despite its advanced technologies. Furthermore, Hezbollah fighters continued to be able to communicate with each other and their HQ’s even though all telecommunications infrastructure inside Lebanon was totally destroyed by Israel including cellular phones.

At the end of this, Israel was unable to stop Hezbollah rockets, unable to gain any ground and unable to retrieve the two kidnapped soldiers. Hezbollah came out of this more powerful, more invigorated and more determined to upgrade its arsenal and preparedness for the next wave of attack.

In more recent times, Israel has spotted and down a drone in Southern Israel. Hezbollah claimed ownership of the drone and reported that it wasn’t the first to be sent and won’t be the last.

In reality therefore, Hezbollah has been diligently fighting Israel and its aspirations to control Lebanon, with a high level of technical skill and prowess. So, where does the tag “terrorist” come from one may ask?

Hezbollah operatives have never done any military action outside Lebanon until very recently, and that recent exception was in Syria fighting alongside the Syrian Army against Al Qaida and affiliated legions ie what the West wants the whole world to be believe them to be “Syrian Freedom Fighters”. After all, the objective of the entire offensive against Syria is to stifle any resistance to Israel, including of course Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has been accused of a bus bomb in Bulgaria in recent times but, there was no solid proof of this. Hezbollah has never ever engaged in any military action, overt or covert, in a manner that terrorizes innocent civilians by the definition of terrorism. When its rockets fell on Israeli towns in 2006 and before, this was during combat, at a time during which Israeli jets were littering Lebanese towns and villages, that had high population densities, with countless number of cluster bombs, depleted uranium and other internationally prohibited weapons. Again, the Hezbollah response was a tiny fraction of the number and magnitude of the thousands upon thousands of air sorties and ground and naval bombardments from the Israeli side.

Hezbollah was never ever engaged in acts such as hijacking jetliners, putting bombs on buses, suicide attacks or any other act that “traditional” terrorist organizations are infamously famous for. Neither does it get engaged in domestic or overseas political assassinations or any of the actions government organizations such as the Mossad or the CIA, though it has been accused of some without any proof.

It is not by accident that Israel and the USA want to lower the stature of an organization like Hezbollah to that of a terrorist organization and thereby trying to absolve themselves from having to concede publicly that they have been losing a war against a very highly trained, highly disciplined, a technologically advanced, a very highly organized and a very powerful, capable and determined foe.

Branding Hezbollah as a terrorist organization is a political ploy, a false flag alarm, to be used as a pretext for any future attack on Lebanon that Israel or its allies may want to undertake in the future.

Hezbollah’s affiliation with Syria and Iran and its Islamic nature are used by the West to bolster the terrorist claim. But in the Middle East, it is Israel that has been using prohibited weapons, occupying land against UNSC mandates. It is the state that possesses chemical weapons and nuclear weapons including Hydrogen Bombs. It is Israel that is threatening to attack Iran. It is the USA that is threatening to attack Syria and Iran.

Who are the true terrorists of the Middle East and the world? Let’s hope that history will be able to tell the story fairly and honestly. If there is any justice at the end of the day, Hezbollah will have regarded like the Vietcong; a local community of freedom fighters.
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